What? No, you couldn’t have... What?
Our oldest, Sebastian, uttered his first word at twelve months. It was Cosmo. Cosmo is our overly needy husky. He was named after the libation, and takes medication for separation anxiety. Sebastian's second word was Dada. And shortly after that, Mama.
Michael and I always knew we were going to adopt. But we didn’t fully examine the care taking end of it. I think we both assumed the other would be the primary. Consequently, I never saw myself as stay-at-home anything. Being mommy was never part of my programming. I was supposed to tolerate my kids, humiliate them on the tennis court, and teach them make me the perfect scotch and soda. So, this bathing and changing and feeding and cooing over every single moment of every single day...is not a natural fit.
The baby cries awake.
This day is like any other.
Breakfast ends up on the floor.
We’re late out the door.
I’m a discontented mother.
I got two kids
Who demand my time.
Well, three if you count my hubby.
My career is stuck,
I’m losing hair and getting chubby.
Welcome to my glamorous life,
I’m a doormat, referee and wife.
And sometimes I want to pick up a knife,
And carve out some time for me.
Okay. Let’s try it again. Papa.
Come on, you don’t want me to have a complex, do you? I'm the one who gets up in the middle of the night. I make your baby food using organic vegetables. I am the center of your whole world. So, it would be nice...not that I’m pushing...but it would be really nice if you would just ppppppp Papa. No. Okay. I’m strong. So what if you call me mama.
"Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. MAAAAA MAAAAA!"
Last spring, my stepmother sent me a tropical plant. Attached to a chunk of hardened lava was a small anthurium. You know, glossy red flower with a protrusion sticking out of it. Well, about a month after receiving it I noticed a second flower. I said to my two year old daughter, "Look, a baby." And that statement has changed Maxie's thinking in a profound way. Immediately, she wanted touch the baby. I was wary. Her two year old grasp can crack walnuts. I insisted on aquarium rules. At the Long Beach Aquarium, you can "pet" zebra sharks only if you use the flight-attendant-nearest-exit technique. Maxie agreed. After lunch, she would gently caress Baby. It became part of our routine.
Soon, other objects became Baby as well. A doll's shoe, Baby. Small rubber ball, also Baby. Then there was Baby rock. Baby toe nail. Baby tomato. Baby poo poo. Baby snot. Anything, really. As long as larger something was accompanied by smaller something, invariably smaller something would be Baby.
One day, Maxie was lovingly petting Baby anthurium and her focus changed. She began to pet the larger of the two flowers. She looked at me with a triumphant smile and said, "Mommy." Her tapping grew more urgent. "Mommy," she said again, flower flopping back and forth. "Mommy." Excitement taking over. "Mommy, mommy, mommy."
I quickly took the plant away before it was traumatized with love. As I placed it back on the windowsill, I whispered to the tall flower, "Mommy with a penis."
During my tenure as mommy, I have become aware that mommies are amazingly underappreciated by society. And I have a theory. We may be the CEOs of the hearth, but because we do not draw a salary, we are lower on the totem pole than the toilet scrubber at Denny’s.
I’ll prove it. Typical exchange. "What do you do?" "I’m a stay-at-home parent." "Oh... Well... Good for you. What else do you do?"
What else do I do? I’ll tell you what I do. The six C’s is what I do. That’s right. The six C’s. I cook. I clean. I carpool. I provide care and comfort. And when all of that is done, I cocktail. Heavily.
I studied hard
To become a classical actor.
Try not to laugh.
But I’m not Falstaff
I’m a Pampers benefactor.
What I must do
To keep my cool
Is lower expectations.
A life with dirt.
Poop on my shirt.
No X-rated vacations.
Welcome to my glamorous life.
I mean, of course, my crisis mid-life.
Cause sometimes I want to pick up a rifle
And blast out some time for me.
Do I have that? No. I bought the coffee, but I don’t have the room. You lied to me Carol Lawrence. There is no lap robe. There is no crackling fire. There is no leisure. I am not celebrating the moments of my life!
Don’t yell. Share with your sister.
Put your toys away. Three squares a day.
Stop rubbing. You’ll get a blister.
It’s time for school. Homework. Carpool.
Eat your green beans. Make your bed.
Put down the phone. Don’t use that tone.
And get up off your sister’s head.
If I had the time,
Tell you what I’d do,
I’d learn Italian and...do some drugs.
Crystal meth sounds nice,
Horse, crank or ice.
I’d interact with junkies and thugs.
Or better yet,
I’d go out on the town,
And go down on lots of men.
In the backseat of a car,
Bathroom stall, seedy bar.
Or maybe I’d try a woman again!
Thank God for my fantasy life.
It sustains me in times of mental strife.
Cause otherwise I’d pick up a...fife.
That’s right. The woodwind.
Like the Pied Piper plays.
So I can mobilize an army of attack rats
With razor sharp claws,
Who will do my evil bidding.
Sort of like in Willard,
Except they will not turn on me in the end.
...Yes, I’d pick up a fife.
And trill out some time,
Chirp out some time,
Flute out and lute out and toot out
A frickin’ little bit of time...
"Call me Papa, dammit!"