Last week I had a glance into both my past and my future within 24 hours of each other, and it was both harrowing and hilarious.
We got new neighbors a couple of weeks ago and I’ve finally met the whole precious family. Our bus stop is in my driveway, so nine elementary school kids gather in the cold to wait for the bus and five more infants and preschool-aged children stand there to bid their siblings farewell. The moms take turns standing with the children, keeping them from instigating a wrestling match or pushing one another in front of oncoming traffic.
When our new neighbors first brought their son to board the bus, the mom came outside with her two babies in a stroller. Seeing this sweet mama venture out of the house with three littles in tow was like a glimpse back in time. I had flashbacks to my first two years of being a mother of three children.
This neighbor, unlike my past self, had on actual pants and appeared to still have some standard of personal hygiene. She was even smiling. I was in awe of her.
I have vague memories of wondering whose idea it was for me to have three children in five years and whether I should classify myself as a masochist for doing it. I entertained the possibility that I had multiple personalities as well, since one moment I was crying happy tears while holding my precious infant and the next moment I was trying to keep myself from shipping my sassy five-year-old off to boarding school.
I truly believe that the mental fog that parents of young children live in is a blessing because there’s no way you can survive it without being in denial for a while. I’ve only just emerged from the baby years and I seem to have already forgotten how crazy it was.
As sentimental as it was to look back at my early parenting years, it was just as hilarious to get a peek at the years to come. This happened during my girls’ routine of making specific requests for bedtime stories. No, not classic children’s books or exciting young reader adventures. They prefer that I perform dramatic retellings of when their parents met or when they themselves came into the world.
Last week when I told the (edited) version of Hubby’s and my first date, Bug took that opportunity to apply some practical application to that story. She asked Hubby about some of the finer points of dating.
“Dadoo, does the boy ask the girl to go on a date, or does the girl ask the boy?”
Dadoo was a quick thinker when he answered “It can be either way, but if a boy asks you to go on a date, it means he is brave.”
Bug thought about it for a moment and declared that she would allow a boy to ask her to go on a date. Y’all know I’m old fashioned, and all this business about girls aggressively pursuing boys gives me heart palpitations, so obviously I was thrilled with her reaction to that situation. Now if she will just stick with it …
Even better than Bug’s revelation about dating was her epiphany about having a baby. Many times, when I describe my experience having babies, I mention that after getting the good drugs, I laid in bed watching TV and eating lots of popsicles. Bug has been saying for weeks that she can’t wait to have a baby because, you know, UNLIMITED POPSICLES!
However, I ruined her dreams of that magical fairytale land one night during a bedtime story. Without getting into too much detail, we talked about the general area from which babies emerge when they are born. Bug thought about it for a minute and I carried on with the story.
“WAIT,” Bug interrupted. “Do you have to pull your pants down when you have a baby?!?!”
I suppressed my laughter long enough to answer “Actually, you can’t even wear pants when you have a baby!”
You would have thought I’d just told Bug that human parents eat their young and make designer purses from their skin. She was appalled. “Are you kidding me?!?! NO PANTS?? That’s it. I don’t care how many popsicles they give me, I’m NEVER having a baby!”
After this conversation, I imagine myself smugly walking through the teen years, assured by my child’s dedication to keeping her pants on. However, I may have to do some bargaining in the more distant future when I’m ready for grandkids. Maybe my new neighbor can coach my grownup Bug on how to wear pants immediately after having a baby. I wouldn’t know anything about that.
Overheard at the salon: Let’s just say the hot chicken had its revenge and leave it at that.