“M-o-m-m-e-e-e-e-e-, I want it!” shouts one daughter
“No, I want that!” exclaims the other one.
“No, it’s M-I-N-E” asserts the older one again, louder, yanking even harder.
They shout and pull. They fight and argue. I ignore it. I project myself onto a white sand beach where small children are banned and husbands are only allowed if the wife so wills them there. If I avert my eyes and say nothing, perhaps they’ll forget I’m here to negotiate yet another peace treaty, I think desperately.
Meanwhile, back in reality, the young humans are still sparring over some useless fifty cent compass they picked out at the dentist’s office, despite being in a room overflowing with engaging, colorful and age-appropriate toys. Dare I wonder why they must fight over something that they don’t even know how to use, let alone what North, South, East or West even means?
“Let’s start a show and call it Crank Time,” suggests my good friend on the phone one day, as we blurted out the latest top ten list of egregious kid behaviors executed by our own offspring. We immediately conclude this is a brilliant idea. What better venue could there be for us? First – we are awesome. Second, we are clearly telegenic, witty and never short on words. With Crank Time, we can stylishly discuss our complaint du jour and invite guests to debate. The truth is, beyond children, anything is fair game: nanny, husband, boss, latest absurd celebrity baby name, the opportunities endless. Once we’ve exhaled our frustrations, we can move on. We conclude our show’s mission is cathartic moments for busy moms, a hybrid of commentary and debate.
“What I really want is a kid-taser,” unabashedly announces this same friend. Topic one for Crank Time, I suggest, because frankly, in some moments, I could go for a Kid Taser. Couldn’t you? Imagine it, kid acting like a maniac, kid spiraling out of control, quick use of the kid-tase and bam, problem temporarily solved. Who has time to read the parenting books anyway, especially when we have a swift and easy-to-use technique on hand.
I think I hear the screeching wheels of child protective services pulling out front of Crank Time’s studios right now. Little do they know I am affiliated with more shadowy figures who suggest other offensive escape route plans for bad kid behavior.
“How about a chloroform wipe, I could really go for one of those on a very rare occasion with my 3-year-old, to just knock her out for a few seconds. The problem is, some jerk out there will abuse it and ruin it for the rest of us,” confessed another friend.
Topic 2 for Crank Time, I suspect, as I’m wrestling with a raging lunatic of a two-year-old who is fighting the injustice of being strapped into the stroller so we can actually make the quarter mile walk home in under 3 hours. Where can I get one of those, I ask him desperately. I’ll pay anything. Sometimes the sweet innocence of discovering every mentionable and unmentionable object and thing on a walk is more tedious than sweet, I’m not afraid to admit.
The live debate on Crank Time over the use of Kid-Taser and Chloroform wipes is bound to be a ratings success during sweeps month, I reason, as I wonder if I should really find these two suggestions as amusing and appealing as I do.
Don’t we all have these moments? I know, I know, it’s so shocking to think when you have a sweet 5 month old whose only job is to sit there and giggle when you sneeze and flap their arms and eat whatever you offer them without a fight. I used to lovingly gaze at my baby and remember thinking I couldn’t possibly imagine ever getting angry with her. What in the world could she do that would ever upset me? My naiveté was almost endearing, right?
The truth is, in those moments of raw-nerve exhaustion when I just don’t think I can take it one second longer, when I actually do wish I had a Kid Taser, my mother’s needlepoint haunts me:
Cleaning and cobwebs can wait til tomorrow . . .
For babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow . . .
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep . . .
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep
That simple poem she stitched, even through raising four kids, readily mocks my self-imposed ban on mommy guilt.
Some day, I will miss these moments, I tell myself through gritted teeth, as the words to that needlepoint crowd my brain and confuse my emotions. They might be fighting and Machiavellian maniacs unleashing their cruel reign of terror onto me but they are home, and they want to be home, and they love me so much. How could something so small and cute be so awful? How could I love them so much and yet want to taser them?
Isn’t that daily cycle of contradicting emotions in parenthood?
Join us on Crank Time. It’ll make you feel better.