Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Gypsies (or: How to Terrorize Your Four-Year-Old)

Yesterday, my friend Jackie over at Life is Too Short texted me with a parenting question.  Now I don't want to stand here and pat myself on the back about what an amazing mom I am -- and in fact, I'll prove to you in a moment why I am so very much NOT an amazing mom -- but whenever Jackie asks me a question, it really makes my day.  And it's not because I'm some great authority, but because she and I agree on a ton of stuff and when she (or anyone else) asks me my opinion, it means I'm doing something right enough that someone whose opinion I value also values mine.  I mean, it's a nice affirmation that I'm not terrible.  It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does, it is pretty cool. 

So, I had that going for me all morning. 

Then in the afternoon I had a million things going on, and had to tutor, and WHM was a bear.  Just. A. Bear.  He was overtired and cranky and didn't want to nap and didn't want a snack and didn't want to watch tv and didn't want to listen to music and didn't want to be around Mommy and didn't want to be away from Mommy and wanted a chocolate milk, no wanted water, no wanted a milk again ... you get the idea.

And CAM, despite being mostly an angel, couldn't help but to bicker with WHM.  Or really, everything she did, he was not happy about.  So, they bickered. Of course, these meltdowns only ever happen when Mick is out of town, which meant I had absolutely no backup.  And my last tutoring person stood me up, or it seemed she was going to.*  This was both frustrating and a lifesaver at the same time.

In any event, after I was done tutoring and when I was sufficiently convinced that my last person wasn't coming, I had to reckon with the fact that I had not prepared anything for dinner.  I was not about to take the two of them anywhere, but they love "beef on a stick" (teriyaki skewers) from our local Chinese place, so I talked them into being happy that we were ordering Chinese.  What a treat!  We don't usually order Chinese!  They have cookies!  Who doesn't love rice?!  THEY DELIVERY!  And of course, as soon as I was on the phone ordering, what happens?  My two overtired, sick-of-each-other kiddos began to fight and yell and tell me how they didn't want Chinese and wanted the Border or Costco or Chickaway or Ted's or ...

Here's the thing: I usually tell them when they're being bad that I am going to "sell them to the gypsies."  And I was exasperated.  And they were fighting.  And no one was listening to me (and really, how could they have heard me over their arguing?) and with my phone still in my hand I was thinking, let's try something here.

So I hung up with the Chinese place and put my phone back to my ear and cocked my head to hold the phone on my shoulder as I stood in the foyer trying to place my card back in my wallet inside my purse, which was hanging on the coat tree, while the kids were in the living room five feet away fighting over God-only-knows.


Yes, is this the gypsies?

Oh, great.  Is there a gypsy I can talk to?

Hi, yes.  Oh, good, thank you.  Um, well, I was wondering -- do you have anyone available to come pick up two children tonight?  Yes, I know it's late.  No, they have not eaten dinner yet.

And then ... screams of terror.


I swear to you, I am so embarrassed, but her face was one of terror.

I felt like the worst Mommy ever.  I mean, I don't beat my kids, and they are well dressed, well-fed, and don't want for anything ... and spoiled enough to ask for Ted's Montana Grill or sushi for dinner every night ... but the look on her face is burned in my brain forever.

I bent down and immediately laughed like it was the funniest joke ever.  Pretended I was trying to tease her, and didn't think she heard me ... oh my goodness, I played up how silly I was like I was auditioning for the clown college and trying to make the most serious man on earth laugh.  I told CAM how I love her more than anything and would never ever sell her and my phone wasn't even on and lookatthescreenhoneyit'sblank there's no one there, I can't call the gypsies ...

Anyway.  Awful. 

So much for the high of having someone call and ask me for parenting advice.  Sorry, Jackie.  I think I ended this day on a (very, very) low note.


*turns out she didn't stand me up, though. She left me a voicemail that didn't come across to my phone/indicator 'til today.  Grrrrrrrr......

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