February 09, 2009

Unrealistic Daydreams

Like any dreamy, nonsensical teenager, I had a vision when I was younger. I dreamt how life would be when I was a mom. I was going to be the “cool” mom. I was going to bake cookies all the time. I was going to roll down hills with them in the park on Saturdays and color their eggs green because it would be funny after we read in happy contentment, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ by Dr. Seuss.

My kids would giggle when I set their plates of breakfast in front of them and I would laugh with them in harmony as they saw that I took the extra time to cut their “Green” eggs in heart shapes. We’d bond in that moment, sharing a 'June and Beaver Cleaver' moment as I held my expensive spatula while the sunlight shone through the “finger-print free” window, bouncing off the pretty ribbon in my perfectly tidy hair. When I spoke, there would be automatic respect because I was mom, their universe, and they would listen to everything I said.

My perfect children and I would bond as we ate pretzels while I showed them how to sort their clothes. They would kindly take their dirty clothes to the laundry room without being asked because they would know they cannot have a dirty room, nor a dirty house.

They’d love to bake with me, and we’d play beauty shop and I’d style their hair, paint their nails glitter pink, and we’d laugh and swap stories about 2nd grade boys and the dumb things I did when I was their age. They’d learn from me, they’d ask my opinion when choosing their outfit and ask if what they were wearing was O.K. and I’d say, “No sweetie, purple and red never look good—EVER.” They would happily return to their closet and pick a new outfit.

My kids would speak politely to me and their siblings. We’d never yell and they’d have good manners and say “thank you” a hundred times a day like a mechanical doll. They would eat their healthy snacks of celery and carrots, and my kids would bend over backwards for raisins. (I don’t know what I was smoking…)
My visions were cruel. As cruel as the person who ate the last cookie from the cookie jar when your name was clearly on it for survival.
The ‘Cinderella’s perfect world’ syndrome, slapped me upside the head like the soccer ball that bounced off my temple when my daughter kicked a ball inside the house, breaking rule #57. My kids couldn’t keep their rooms clean if I bribed them with a Chuckie Cheese family outing, which is the ultimate torture for parents. In reality, in order to clean their rooms, we sometimes feel like we have to wear gloves and put on bio-hazard suits just to clean up the stench that is wafting from their bedroom floor. I’m tempted to bring in the blacklight…but the kids broke it.

Mornings are a joke. But I’m not laughing.
It’s not even an organized circus as we are running around getting kids ready for school, packing lunches and finding backpacks. Instead, when the alarm goes off in the morning, we look like someone pulled the string on a spinning top and sat back and watched it spin out of control.
Everyone has slept late—and the oldest wants eggs. HA! I throw her a cereal box, forcing her to be independent and make her own breakfast as I brush her sister’s hair before we’re late for 8am school.
As I brush my daughter’s hair, she screams 4 octaves higher than Mariah Carey’s song, “Someday.”

“Why are you brushing so hard,” she cries dramatically, squeezing her eyes as hard as she can, TRYING to get a tear to pop out. (its a challenge when you’re not even crying in the first place)
“It’s a snarl,” I say, unmoved.
“No,” my daughter whimpers, working up to a perfect tantrum, “you just brush hard. WHA HA HA!”
Boohoo. So sad. I hate clean brushed hair myself….
Meanwhile the other sister gets emotional when I say cereal is for breakfast and her favorite is gone. She stomps to her room like an irritated hippo with a bad case of sleeper’s foot, growling and acting out her own personal monologue as she hiss’s her words through her teeth. (She deserves extra credit for passion, but in this case, it would result in another day of getting grounded.)
Throwing things out of her closet in a blur, as if her clothes had caught fire the minute she touched them, the floor is now piled high with shirts as she looks for something that matches leopard print pants—the zebra top didn’t pass mom’s inspection. (Those will be in the trash the moment she’s out of the house and I fake my smile and wave as daddy drives her to school.) My daughter is bound for a Hollywood Oscar as she all but throws herself into the wall with dramatic intensity. (The kid’s got talent)
“I have nothing to wear!” she wails, forced to find another outfit and managing to come up with an ensemble that immediately causes my eyes to cross, and I have to pretend it’s “Punky Brewster day at school. I can’t care anymore because we’re late getting to school and I hope she doesn’t become the object every kid wants to hit at dodge ball.

Whew! The older kids are off to school at last, kicking and screaming that may be, but it’s quiet in the house.
Hmm…but it’s too quiet in the house…

In an undeclared game of freeze tag, the 3 year old is in the bathroom, frozen like Michelangelo’s statue—but in this case she’s a girl. (I’m potty-training a 3 year old who is potty-training the toilet.) (Uh, don’t ask—refer to prior blog in September if you want the full story, and yes, this has been going on since September!)
Oh heavens, I have a mess to clean up. I don’t like the decals my 3 year old has added to the floor.
I’ve made it to mid-morning. I make my kids a snack, and like the climax of a horror movie, I turn around, holding their tray of snacks and—
They scream at the sight of celery.

Just you wait kids, wait until you find out what I’ve got planned for supper.

During my kindergartener’s tantrum over food choices, (apparently celery with peanut butter was a poisoned food from the dark corners of a mother’s mind) I have to educate her that chocolate isn’t a snack—though I wish it were. But I cave and join her in eating the bag of chocolate chips that I just disapproved of—needing a sugar high; but I’ll feel guilty later, guaranteed. (My hips know how to haunt me in the middle of the night so that when I wake in the morning, AHHHH! They’ve grown another cottage cheese field!)

As the afternoon progresses, there is a knock on the front door. I open it and sign for the package, (I frown. It’s not for Gizzardbutt. Sigh.) I then proceed to go about my day when I happen to walk past a mirror and jump out of my skin. I haven’t brushed my hair (or my teeth for that matter…man, I just realized that I’m a scientific case study’s dream!) Could no one inform the fanatical mama that she had stickers stuck in her foot-high snarly Mohawk?
“Yes, Mr. Mailman, this is the newest Gwen Stephani craze. Dora stickers are ‘in’

So – all dreams aside, here’s the reality. I don’t wear those “hip” clothes I thought I would, instead my clothes bulge at my curvaceous hips and I thank my kids for giving me that little reservoir of fat storage I can use someday for survival. I can now live off my own fat stores from refusing to eat another dish of mac and cheese.
My linen closet doesn’t smell like fresh lilacs on a spring morning where the birds are singing in chirpy chaos like a choir of caffeine-induced Disney mice as you pin up the laundry in the fresh mountain air.
Instead, the closet smells like it got trampled by four kids wearing street shoes who knocked over the towel pile while pulling out the “blue” one because “it’s all about color, mom. Duh…”

The toys so neatly arranged in my vision, are now tarnished by Mt. Toddler who has dumped out all the toys in the toy box and slobbered over all of them, looking like a lab foaming at the mouth on a hot day. Oh- and all those fresh clean bibs to save his clothes, are rotting in a laundry basket, lost and forgotten because I haven’t had the time to think about doing a batch of “darks” yet because the “whites” have mildewed and need to be rewashed for the 4th time. But I just ran out of soap and forgot to tell my husband to pick some up while he was at the store, and who just called to confirm he will be home late…which means…another hour of being incarcerated with children in tight quarters.

I need cookies, chocolate chip cookies…..
In the chaos of the day, I finally really, REALLY notice my 3 year old. I stare. I can’t even achieve the will to CARE as I stare at her matted mop of hair from the night before. It’s not just matted; it’s been moussed with oatmeal from breakfast and is now hardened like a cow pie on top of her head. (June Cleaver just fell over dead on the floor behind me.)

Every hairbrush I own is now shivering in their bathroom drawers in fright. The good mother should do something about it, like give the wretched child a bath, but it’s dinner time and soon I’ll be hunted down like a goose in duck season with: “I’m so hungry, I can’t wait another minute!”

But the day’s almost over. Instead of cleaning up my 3 year old, I vow to make sure she will be kept far from the front door if anyone rings the bell and we have to answer it. I wouldn’t know how to explain her image to the good neighbor dropping something off as they caught sight of my ‘little orphan’.

“It’s an oatmeal cleanse,” I would chuckle nervously. “It’s a preventive measure to purify the scalp of…uh…Quaker disease…”
(June Cleaver is now stiff as a board; rigor mortis has finally set in…)

I then realize I forgot to move the laundry load through—again. I run to my bathroom to grab more dirty clothes that are piled over the tub, only to find my baby in my bathtub…NaKed.

He’s taking a bath—minus the water—shrieking happily in the pile of dirty clothes he pulled out of the laundry basket. I let him play. This is the best my baby has been all day so I walk to the kitchen, uncaring, hoping he doesn’t drown under all the underwear.

I need a breather. It’s been a long day and I killed poor Juney.
I decide to make cookies, but this time I’m not making them for my kids, like what the perfect mom would do. Naw, this batch is SOLELY for me.

Is there anything better than chocolate chip cookie therapy? I do seem to recall those unrealistic dreams of motherhood when I was single, dwelling on hot chocolate chip cookies coming fresh out of the oven....hmmmm, yummy….It would make Mrs. Cleaver proud. It’s a killer recipe. (No pun intended)


tina said...

Funny....so true. Hope your day is a little less crazy.

AnnieAd said...

June Cleaver was highly overrated. Think how boring your life would be with everying in it's place, perfect children, and no chaos. [wait - - that might just be okay!]

Amy said...

Okay so first of all, woo hoo you really aren't June Cleaver over there, hee hee! Love it, our mornings are just as crazy, PROMISE!!! It's work just trying to get the kids out of bed and from there it's a disaster. And anytime you make those delicious cookies, you know your dear sweet neighbors are always in the mood!
LOVED this, you are awesome!!

And hey thanks for the sweet words, things are finally getting back to normal, what a crazy couple of weeks. I'm ready for some good things.

Angela said...

I love your stories and look forward to reading what you have come up with all of the time. Isn't motherhood great? Hope things can be a little less crazy for you.

Heather said...

lol..funny you mentioned June Cleaver, I have always remembered on episode where June is dusting...she is in her house cleaning dress (looks like lucy's in I love lucy) she deftly snags a stool turns on the dusting vaccum and starts cleaning the top of the all the door frames.....ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? I can see the dust stacked on top of the door frame from 2 feet away! It's such a pretty grey-brownish color why move it?

Your bloggs always make my days better, I love them and check every day for a new one! Thank you for sharing, I love knowing I'm not the only disorganized mom out there. Thank you for the bright spot in my day.

Jill said...

WOW! there are other people out there with school mornings like mine! my classic fit throwing comes from when mean mommy says NO to the t-shirt and shorts as the winds are howling and the snow is blowing (that happened again this morning)! thanks for making me laugh at the things that drive us moms crazy! You truely add a happy spot of sunshine to my day with these stories!