Recently I had an opportunity to spend the day with our four-year-old son, Sam.
Sam is currently #5 out of seven kids. He needed some time with just me.
Sam is the oldest of the “new litter.” The old litter consists of our four biological children. Sam and his soon to be adopted little brother, Charlie, also known as “the vandals,” rob, pillage, destroy, and protectively help care for our youngest addition, a 10-month old foster daughter. Oh, protective when they are not trying to lead her into a life of crime.
Originally, I had certain standards by which I deemed myself the perfect parent. My identity was tidily attached to the compliments I received on the organization of my home, and the well behaved and polite mannerisms of my litter.
- We don’t say butt.
- We don’t say poop.
- We don’t say hate.
- We don’t say idiot.
- We don’t say shut-up.
- We don’t say damn it.
- We don’t eat McDonald’s.
- We boycott Disney.
And this formula is the recipe for perfect humans, so why on earth wouldn’t I, in all my awesomeness, open my home to the least of these and do it again?
More people should be like me.
So, as a newly contracted author with Harvest House Publishing, I had things to do, important “author” errands to run. Our oldest daughter was watching Charlie and the baby, and Sam and I were going to run these errands I am certain other famous and fabulous people run.
The baby blew out a diaper which was going to result in 13-year-old Sophie being late to play practice. She started her drama performance early by slamming about the house, furious that she might be tardy, and so my first day as a famous and important author running errands with her sweet boy, didn’t include a shower. I threw on a t-shirt and maxi skirt and bolted out the door, not realizing I had diaper rash cream smeared across my left boob.
On our 80-mph bolt into town from the ranch, Sam decided to tell Charlie about our plans.
“Charwglie, mommy is taking me wif her to run portant errwands because she writes books. You can’t go cause you is just widdle yike da baby.”
Charlie, in turn, screamed his head off while Sam yelled, “SHUT UP CHARWGLIE YOU BEING AN IDIOT!!!” Then Charlie kicked my butt as I dragged him into Maggie’s apartment.
On my to-do-list, a checking account. I have decided to run my authorship like a business. I will be smart and savvy. I have imperative things to take care of, starting with banking and then new keys for my computer. The vandals effectively removed B, S, Q, U, L, Alt, and >.
I need these keys.
So we stroll into the bank and Sam has to go potty.
We don’t make it to the potty in time. As we exit the restroom, a little damp, an older gentleman says to Sam, “Hey, big guy! You helping mommy today?” and Sam says, “Yes, I peed my pants. Not poop. Just pee. Now my butt is wet.”
We run to Target. Sam is chatting away about Dinosaurs, how he is bigger than Charlie, and how it is “Widiculous” that there aren’t more W’s in words. We end up next to a young woman with a baby about the same age as our baby in her shopping cart on the diaper isle. The baby goes wild when he sees Sam. The woman laughs and says, “well my baby is so excited to see you!” And Sam says flatly, “I hate that baby. I just yike my baby.” Shocked, she speeds away. I can’t blame her.
Sam reverts from mature and mommy helping four-year-old to crazed kid throwing a tantrum in the check-out line because I won’t buy candy. I drag him out of the store and he hollers at a passerby, “Help me! She’s gonna spank my butt!”
We eat McDonald’s for lunch.
At the pharmacy, refilling my Xanax, I buy him a Disney coloring book and crayons.
And then, I took him antiquing. I did this in a brain burp moment. I in fact am the one who coined the nicknames “the vandals.” I can’t remember when I thought vandals should be in antique stores around fragile artifacts, but I quickly remembered why they shouldn’t.
Everyone we encountered got a run down from Sam about the day’s events.
- Peed his pants, but didn’t poop.
- Met a baby he hated.
- Got his butt spanked four times.
- Ate McDonald’s.
- Bought a Disney coloring book.
An older woman listens with distaste to his tale as another woman cleaned up a shattered vase. She looked at me and said, “Little boys don’t really belong in antique stores, and you have some white stuff all over you left breast.”
Before we are out of earshot fleeing the store Sam said, “Dammit, I peed again.”
And Mommy Sam day was done. I don’t when the standards lowered so drastically. I know some of it is just having teenaged kids around toddlers. They say butt, shut up, hate, damn it and idiot.
It seems things are a bit out of control. I seem like I don’t give a rat’s butt. But, damn it – I do! Poop happens. I hate that I am not perfect. I hate McDonald’s even more. But “nobody look while I put my cork back in” (Toy Story) and start over. This is a “whole new world” (Aladdin) of parenting. And “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” (Bambi) Sam and the new litter may be getting the end trails of this parenting gig, but “a flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all.” (Mulan)
“The things that make me different are the things that make me, me.” (Winnie the Pooh) And “I give myself good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” (Alice in Wonderland) I could get discouraged that I am not the perfect mom, “but giving up is for rookies.” (Hercules) I am no rookie. I am a mom, author, and friend. I love Jesus, coffee, and these humans.
At the end of the day, “the problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” (Pirates of the Caribbean)
I am confident the second liter will be as grand as the first. “All it takes is faith and trust… oh, and pixie dust.” (Peter Pan)
And so the 8 rules have been narrowed to just two: 1. A whole lot more Dinsey and 2. Hire a nanny.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami