I used to think I was the boss of my kids. What was I thinking?
The other night my older daughter excitedly packed her suitcase for a sleepover at her grandparents’ house.
Then she turned to me with a very concerned look. I could see the wheels turning.
“Mommy. Since I’ll be gone tonight, I’m putting you in charge.”
Umm. What do you say to that? Part of me wants to laugh. The other part wants to cringe because she genuinely thinks she’s doing me a favor. The look in her eyes right now is sincere. And she is waiting for a response. I think she is expecting my gratitude at having been given the chance to rule, if only for a night. What I want to say is …
Yo, kid. Listen up. I’m always in charge.
I’m the one schlepping you places and changing diapers (your sister’s). I’m the one who lifts you up because you can’t reach the sink by yourself yet. I’m the one who constantly has two sets of wet handprints on her pants in public because I don’t have time to dry them before you bounce out of a public restroom. (The second set is because the dryers freak you out and you wipe your hands on my legs, regardless of what I am wearing.) I am the one who has learned to pee with one hand on the doorknob because you like to jump out and say hi to the other bathroom-goers.
I’m the buyer of the “good snacks” and the hider of the candy. I am the one who peels you off the ceiling after you’ve had a shot. I am the one who wipes, well, everything and anything. I am the one who worries constantly. I am the one who blows on your mac and cheese. And who do you think would turn on “Daniel Tiger”? Seriously? (In reality, I could probably teach you to operate the remote, but why would I do that? Then you’d figure out that I lied and that they do still have “Caillou” on TV.) I am the teller of time, date and weather. I am the “fixer” of rips and doctor of broken toys (duct tape it and tell Daddy to look at it when he gets home).
I am the one who makes that dinner you eat at night that you look at and announce “It’s SGUSTIN’!” before you have even tried it. It’s spaghetti and meatballs, for Pete’s sake. You ate it last week.
I am the one who wrestles you into a snowsuit, knowing full well you will only spend five minutes in the snow before announcing you are cold/wet/tired/hungry or have to pee. I am the one who answers when you say my name 35 times in each and every hour. Yeah, I counted.
I am the one who picks out your clothes and hair clips and shoes (though you announce that all of these are the WORST and that you are “Never, ever, ever wearing pants EVER again.” For the record, you are).
I am the one who insists you wear closed-toed shoes at the playground because even though you swear you won’t whine when you get a wood chip in your shoe, we both know the end of that story.
I am the one who tells bedtime stories and camps out in your room when you’re sick.
I am the one who says “Don’t eat that!” when I look over and find your finger suspiciously halfway between your nose and mouth. I turn away so I don’t have to see where you wipe it.
I am the patient when you want to play doctor – in part because I don’t want to see the “treatments” you’d like to try out on your sister.
I am the one who eats the sweet potato fries off your plate because they are “GROSS” and cannot touch the burger. I am the one who orders said burger with just cheese and no sauce and no lettuce and no tomato and definitely no onions, because those things will make the burger inedible.
I am the one who wipes the dried toothpaste off your face with my thumb. I am the one who covers a public toilet seat with paper so your tush doesn’t have to touch the gross seat. That one is actually gross. Why you think sweet potato fries are “GROSS,” but are unfazed and want to open and touch everything in a public bathroom is beyond me.
I am the one who brushes the hair out of your eyes. The one who covers you at night. The one who tells you to wear a sweater because it will get cold.
But yes, now that you mention it, I see where all of this could be overlooked. That instead of being in charge, you might think of me as the one who gets in the way of all the SUPER FUN things you’re going to do each day.
So I guess what I’ll say to you, my girl, when you tell me I’m ‘in charge’ for one night only is this: “Thanks. I’ll try to make you proud.”
I will try to keep a straight face.
And then that night, when you’re on your sleepover, I’ll cut two really big brownies for Daddy and me, and cover them in the last of the vanilla ice cream. (Sorry, not sorry.)
I’ll curl up on the couch and tell him,
“You are not going to believe what my boss said to me today.”
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