Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Two cents

Here's a little parenthood quiz for you.

How do you respond when your barely-to-pre-verbal offspring begin to criticize your decisions, both large and small? Do you applaud their burgeoning independence and recognize, with a rush of pride and awe, that distancing themselves from you is the first step in becoming the human beings they are meant to be?

Or do you literally have to bite your tongue to keep from spitting out the words: "HEY! Who asked you?"

If you answered mostly Bs, then by all means, sit next to me.

Since I can remember, I've heard my mom recount the time she was getting an 18-month-old me dressed for a holiday party, when I suddenly stamped my tiny foot and said, "No! I want the RED dress!" To this day, she sounds a little stunned that I might have had a say in the matter.

Fast-forward thirtysomething years, except this time it's the sacred cow of music that's up for debate. I accept the fact that when C is in the car, he is the great and powerful Oz who dictates what emanates from the stereo. (Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain, begrudgingly feeding CDs into the player on command. "No, Mommy, not that one. THAT one.") But when I leave him at school, I reclaim my rightful role as disc jockey extraordinaire. Texalternative? Fusion jazz? The worst pop music from the 80s? An occasional sappy c & w ballad? Liberal talk radio? (Well, maybe not Diane Rehm; her voice even scares me sometimes.) Hey, I'm not discriminating. It's mine, all mine! Nevermind the two small passengers seated behind me.

Not even out of the school parking lot this morning, K started to fret. "Here's your milk, sweetie," I said, passing the sippy cup behind me with one hand while I maneuvered the radio knob with the other.

The sippy cup came hurtling foward from the back seat. Hmmm. An omen.

A few blocks away, I was still searching for the perfect song and, I'll confess, adjusting the volume as needed to muffle the mewing from Her Highness. She wasn't settling down; perhaps a diaper change is in order, I thought. Suddenly it occurred to me that every time I changed the station, there was a momentary pause before she began to yelp louder.

And then, I found it: ELO's "Evil Woman." (I am NOT making this up.) Great strings, that snappy 70s sound and cringeworthy memories of skating rinks long bulldozed. It wasn't quite the Gap Band's "Burn Rubber," the song that is absolutely guaranteed to instantly pull me out of any blue mood, but it would do just fine for a Wednesday morning.

"NO! NONONONONO!"

Beg pardon? Yes, my only daughter was livid. At my musical selection, apparently. I tried to hold my ground. She turned red in the face. Oh, fine: I auditioned other radio stations, eventually offering the classical station as an olive branch. She ranted and railed louder.

FINE. I turned off the radio. And the car was blissfully quiet. For one minute. Until S started to wail. Sigh.

Opinions. They're like... well, in this forum, I'll say elbows. Everybody's got one. (Although most people have TWO elbows, so that's not really a good substitute for the word that usually completes that sentence. But you get the gist.) I'm usually pretty interested in hearing other people's opinions. What did you think of the book? How'd you like that restaurant? Be honest: do these pants make me look fat?

But the tots, they don't filter their opinions. A friend (svelte, it must be noted) told me today that her preschooler has started calling her "Squishy Mommy." At first she thought it was cute, even complimentary. Now she's not so sure. I know how she feels: tonight, I was preparing to read bedtime stories to C (THREE books, 'cause Daddy's out of town). I sat on the floor with my legs crossed and a lap ready for my sweet sleepyheaded boy, the apple of my eye, my darling...

"Wow. Your feet are really rough, Mommy. I mean, it's like touching crust or something."

Please. Tell me how you really feel.

2 Comments:

Blogger Sugar Photography said...

*crust*

excuse me while I spit water on the keyboard

I need to get you a copy of our last Music Together class cd-ben sings along! even Sam has a few favorites! and while "she'll be coming round the mountain" isn't exactly john mayer, it's better than silence!

:)

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You, my dear, were a Sweet Little Southern Lady at the age of eighteen months.

You have birthed a Texas Gal with Two Big Brothers.

I'm surprised she didn't say "Mah Ears! Mah Ears! Not only NO, but Hayul NO!!"

Prolly her manners came over her, and only the "No" part was spoken?? :)

7:48 AM  

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