I totally wish I had some awesome story about another encounter with Those Moms, but alas, I am actually referring to myself this time. I wasn’t mean to anybody, but I am just not proud of my, uh, let’s say ‘focus’ on my child’s success.
So, I mentioned that we had a very important visitor the other day. It was Carlitos’ new teacher, doing a home visit to get to know him before school starts next week. Now, here is where I started to go in a direction I had promised myself I would never go. I started by being a little overzealous and forcing my husband to help me clean the whole house within an inch of it’s life, as if it was CPS dropping by for a visit and not Carlitos’ preschool teacher. Well, okay, our bedroom wasn’t completely finished in time. (That room was, ahem, my husband’s responsibility. Like I’ve said before, not that competition should necessarily be part of a healthy marriage, but yeah, ‘my’ rooms were clean. I’m juuuust sayin.’) I do have to say, it was taking him longer because he was being extremely thorough. Let me not completely throw him under the bus when he isn’t here to defend himself. (But I still win.)
In any event, the rest of the house looked perfect and wonderful and all ‘Oh my! Is that The New Yorker I see on your son’s perfectly made bed? Do you always have an unabridged dictionary on your living room coffee table open to the ‘perspicacious’ page and stacks of Spanish flashcards with words like ‘Octagono’ on them? Are there always the sweet, wafting aromas of just-baked banana bread with organic walnuts coming from your kitchen?’
Yes, of course! We are the perfect parents and our son is the smartest child you will ever have.
Okay, you got me. The walnuts weren’t organic.
In all seriousness, while I obviously did not actually lay out ‘intelligence props,’ I really did get pretty intense about ensuring the house was pristine.
And then? You guessed it. She didn’t budge from her seat at the kitchen table for the entire visit. I had to bite my tongue from offering, “Would you like to go upstairs and smell our living room floor? It’s really clean. Smells like oranges.”
So there was my first ‘psycho mom spell.’ And then…
Carlitos ‘I am THE most social, outgoing, independent child ever’ Eli – obviously, because this is just how life works – sits on a chair in the corner with his head down.
Oh, wow. That’s so strange. I swear, he is never like this. Honestly.
I could hear myself saying the words. Being The World’s Most Stereotypically Obnoxious Parent. And yet, I couldn’t stop myself. Because it was TRUE! He is never like that! But, in hindsight, I didn’t need to really say all of that, because I have a feeling that after a year day of being Carlitos’ teacher she will probably see for herself that he isn’t a shy little wall flower.
And then it got even worse…
She is trying to talk to him and get him to color in this activity she brought (The child who has a box of crayons in each room of the house because I never know when he is going to need to do ‘arts and craps’ right now, Mommy, right now.) and he says, “I want to play the numbers and letters game…” Oh! See? He just doesn’t feel like coloring right now because he loves learning!
“…on yours phone, Mommy.” Oh. Oh, no. That just doesn’t sound good. (Not the grammar. That’s still cute, for now.) The phone part.
And before I can fumble out some sort of an explanation so that we don’t look like The World’s Worst Parents (Worst is not the superlative I was going for!) my husband chimes in.
“Oh, he has this game he likes to play on our phones. He plays it for hours at a time.”
Turn head. Dagger eyes. Telepathically shouting, “You are kidding me, right?!? What are you doing?!?” Outwardly, I laughed and said, “Well, it’s an educational game on our phones. In Spanish. And he means that Carlitos would play it for hours if we ever let him.”
“Oh, no, I meant I let him play for hours. He loves it.”
But the truth is, during this whole interaction it was like I was having an out of body experience and watching from above, thinking, “Who is this chick and why is she being all ‘mom crazy’? She swore she would never be like that.”
Oh, New York, what have you done to me? With your school entry tests for 4-year-olds and fellow parents who ask you which wait lists you got your child on while you were in the hospital. Like, in the hospital giving birth to that child. And wait list, like, preschool wait list.
Thankfully, it was just a short lapse and I am promising myself that I will never go back to that dark, fake, scary place again. In an attempt at fairness, I have also made my husband promise that he will never say something that, uh, unintelligent, again.
Oh, and Carlitos is cut-off from his phone game for a week or two. Just until the fiendishness subsides.