The Invisible Mama

How is it that the small boy (SB) and the dog (just dog) both have figured out how to totally tune me out and ignore me?  Did my dog train the SB, or am I so annoying that they’ve both conspired to go selectively deaf together?  Have my cries of, “put that down/get that out of your mouth/don’t lick your shoes (really)/SLOOOOWWWW DOWNNNNN” really gotten that boring and repetitive?  
I’ve also tried the whispering/silent approach, which only garnered SB more freedom because then it was even easier to go selectively deaf.  Plus I felt like the Jewish mother version of Dirty Harry.  “Go ahead – make my day – lick that shopping cart.  Are you feeling lucky, punk?”
I actually read in a book that growling gets your kid’s attention.  Sure, so does setting yourself on fire or blowing up the house, but it’s easy to see why that approach isn’t taken too often.  Growling?  Can you imagine being in line at the store and hearing some frazzled mom growling at her kids?  You’d think you ended up in one of those “People of Walmart” emails that floats around.   And then you’d duck and cover until the authorities hauled her away.
I wonder how much I could get a Bullhorn for?  That could make quite an impact at the library when SB’s tearing through the racks and in high ignoring mode (HIM).  But on the bright side, I’m getting pretty good at the wind sprints through the children’s section…

Fears I Don’t Want To Pass Along to SB

Genetics aside, and sorry kiddo, this is what you get – I hope I don’t pass along any of my fears/neurosis/irrational hang-ups to SB (small boy).  A sampling of things that scare me include:  slugs, earthquakes, flying, Joan Rivers (and her daughter), grasshoppers, flying,  the Tea Party, pit bulls, reality TV about bored housewives/single people in New Jersey, flying, and very bad fake tans. 

Being a mom to a SB, I’ve had to really put the brakes on my reactions to the grossness factor.  Yesterday he picked his nose, held out his finger and said, “mama, you eat it?”  I call this “When the Sharing Lecture Fails”.  We pick up worms on our walks, which is a minor shudder, but when he saw a slug the other day I had to really go in to full blow lying mama mode (or FBLMM), and tell him slugs have sharp teeth and bite, and luckily this one was sleeping.  He can figure out the truth from the BS when he gets older, I guess.

Flying’s another one.  I’m a paranoid/crazy/much rather take a train but they don’t go to Hawaii white knuckler, to say the least.  I hate everything about the process, especially after 9/11.  The second we park at the airport I tend to become crabby and fearful, and now rather than making everyone with me miserable and homicidal, I have to act brave and cheery in front of SB.  It stinks, this being a grown-up thing.

No more glaring at the TSA employee who’s lecturing me about the tiny little thing of hairspray in my purse (because I’m going to style someone to death?), and no more exaggerated eye rolling when I have to take off my flip flops to prove that I’m not concealing a rocket launcher.  Once we actually manage to get our stroller checked at the gate, beg to be seated together, get on the plane, fight over who gets the window seat (not me), hold up the line putting our stuff in the absurdly miniscule overhead compartment while backing up the line like a log jam,  I then have to pretend that flying’s fun and interesting.  In other words, act like a normal, well adjusted person.  Right.

I can’t subtly check the pilot as we walk by the cockpit to make sure he’s sober/didn’t just put his dog to sleep/ is recently divorced and clinically depressed and fantasizing about pointing the plane into a cornfield and ending it all.  I have to actually listento the flight attendant tell me to put my mask on first.  Honey, if it gets to that point, I’ll already have died of fright, and what good is a mask going to do when we hit the cornfield anyway?

So I pretend flying’s fun.  So far SB hasn’t picked up on my phony smile and scary Disney Teen Perky voice, but I think he’s going to catch on soon.  In the meantime, maybe Amtrack’s building a bridge over the Pacific.  You never know.

Things I’ve Said?!?!?

After seven years in the shopping center biz working with the general public, I thought I’d seen and said it all.  Not even close.  Here’s a condensed list of things I’ve actually said since I’ve become a mom:
Don’t pick your/my/the dog’s nose.
Stop licking the window/shopping cart/railing/plants/sidewalk/that kid.
No, mama doesn’t have a weenie.
Stop painting/pretending to eat/licking the dog.
Don’t put that bead/blueberry/raisin/rolly bug in your nose/ear/mouth.
Don’t draw on the wall/window/dog/car/table/phone/stairs/me.
I don’t think the birds outside want your spaghetti/chicken/banana/chocolate brownie.
No, the dog can’t change your diaper with her paws.
Yes sweetie, I’ve put a sign on the door that says, “No Monsters Allowed”
No, we can’t have a pet rolly bug/worm/bee/moth/cow/gorilla in the house.
Please don’t put your train/panda/helicopter/face in the toilet.
More to come, but for now I’d like to just print out this list and hand it to him for reference.  I guess I’ll have to wait until he can actually read, but by then this list will most likely be 100 pages long…

Being Overprotective. Or Not.

So is it bad that I have SB convinced that if he ever rides on a motorcycle all his hair will blow off?
Being raised by a professional Jewish mother, I tend to lean towards the overprotective side and this really bugs me sometimes.  I’m sure it bugs SB a lot of the time.  I’ve resisted the urge to make him wear a bike helmet 24/7, and so far I haven’t wrapped him in bubble wrap, but it’s a fine line I walk…
As a kid, I always hated having the earliest curfew and having my mom hover at the pool every time my friends and I went swimming, well into my teens.  My grandma, with her charming Viennese accent, always said, “you’ve got to vatch”.  Doors were locked all the time and every terrible news story was discussed at length with a dire warning to us to be careful.  It’s a miracle we survived without cell phones, helmets, knee pads and GPS. 
So now I hear myself telling SB to be careful, stop putting stuff in his mouth, and the hardest – don’t pet dogs you don’t know.  I was bitten three times as a kid, despite my mom’s hovering, so I suppose there’s lessons we just learn on our own.  But not on my watch.  No way, Jose.
So how do you draw the line and not be too overprotective?  What if he grows up to be one of those freaky testosterone laden Outside Magazine kind of guys?  “Sure son, go ahead and juggle those flaming chainsaws while you’re tightrope walking across Niagra Falls.  Big wave surfing?  Why the heck not?  You want to hike across Afghanistan?  Go for it!”  See what I mean?  Boys like to do stuff like that.

I guess for now I’ll work on keeping Mr. Potato Heads eyes out of SB’s nose and try to stop him from eating rolly bugs.  Baby steps.  But I’m not going to give up on the motorcycle/baldness lie, at least not until he calls me on it…