I’ve only been in the parenting business for a little over four years now which I can honestly say that if this were a nine-to-five gig, I would be putting in my two weeks notice as I type this. Not that I don’t love being a parent, I’m just a person who doesn’t like to feel settled for too long. I like to shake it up every now and then and add some variety. Not that I don’t love being a conflict mediator, lunch maker or butt wiper. I just require a bit more stimulation and adult conversation that doesn’t involve the other person asking ‘why’ after everything I say. This probably explains why I’ve been daydreaming as of late, about returning to work or at least, dropping you two off at some obscure location so I can peruse around town. Unfortunately, it appears to be bad timing once again with your Dad putting in long hours with his new business venture and the sky-rocketing cost of childcare. There is also this weird obsession I have about wanting to work in San Francisco. Obviously our current location would make it rather difficult for your Dad and I to return home at a reasonable hour. There is also my selfishness that doesn’t want to allow another to share in these moments without me whether they are good or bad. I’ve seen how quickly four years has passed. It’s just downright depressing. I feel like I’m in some parallel universe where time is accelerated to four times the norm. Side effects of this time warp include, watching your children grow up too fast, thinning of hair, inability to drink large amounts of alcohol i.e. more than 2 beers and invasive facial wrinkles. All are devastating.
I think this summer will be rather telling whether I’m the best person to watch you and your brother day in and day out as you will not be in preschool for two months. I continued with your preschool education last summer and quickly realized I was paying the same astronomical costs for glorified daycare. We’re also taking some time off from your questionable preschool to see if they can get their act together post-scandal. I don’t hold the strongest confidence after recently learning that the beloved teacher you were looking forward to having next year, has resigned. Your preschool continues to lose wonderful teachers and most of your friends are departing to either attend Kindergarten or other schools all together. After learning of the teacher’s resignation, I quickly went on an online rampage and started booking preschool tours immediately. We toured two schools, one of which I enjoyed quite a bit. The second school we visited would have been great unfortunately, as we were departing the premises, I overheard the teacher asking a fellow teacher if she wanted anything because she was on her way out to make a Starbucks run. Excuse me? Don’t you have a class to teach?
We went ahead and put you on the waiting list for the first school we toured and now we wait and see what your last year of preschool holds for us. It’s really such a bummer how everything played out at your current school. I was extremely happy and confident in knowing that I was leaving you in the hands of a school that genuinely was concerned about your well-being. I still adore your current teachers, Miss Belinda and Miss Elaine. They are wonderful but unfortunately, there is too much influx at that school. The strange thing is I feel like I have this unspoken loyalty because we stayed through the drama and we didn’t just stay because it was your last year of preschool and it didn’t make sense to take you out of school two months before the end of the year. I feel like we’re one of a few families who are barely keeping that school in operation. You can imagine the guilt I felt when you went to school late one day so we could tour another preschool. I asked you not to say anything because you have a knack of giving detailed descriptions of everything you do to anyone with ears. The first thing I hear when I pick you up from school that day is from your teacher, so Olivia tells me you toured another preschool today? Here comes another parenting moment where I feel like someone just ran up and pantsed me.
You see, the problem here is parenting has made me soft. I’m loyal to your current preschool because since becoming a parent, I’m extra sensitive to everything and everyone. I’m not thinking of the shitty handling of the preschool by the church people, I’m thinking about your two wonderful teachers who may be out of a job if we leave because clearly they’re staying in business because of us. Most businesses close their doors once we discontinue our patronage – we’re that awesome. I don’t like being this sensitive. In fact, if you locate my balls – I would like them back asap. I blame becoming a parent for turning me in to a vegetarian because I can no longer envision a poor animal being hurt in any way. I was a mess when I discovered a pile of bird feathers in the corner of our backyard only a couple days after a baby mourning dove was born outside of our window and I instantly envisioned the worst. Becoming a parent has also made me slightly obsessive-compulsive. Why I have to check whether I locked the front door three times before we leave is beyond me but it sure drives your Dad crazy and that is solid entertainment in itself.
I had one of those moments last week as a parent when you think to yourself, I signed up for this, why? I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I got punched in the eye socket by Slimer – I had this goopy feeling holding down my eyelid. I just started using an eye cream a couple nights before due to my accelerated aging and for a split second thought I was having an allergic reaction and then I realized I’m a parent and thus came to the conclusion at four in the morning that I contracted pink eye [insert poop jokes here]. I’ve never had pink eye nor would I want it again. Pink eye is bad enough for anyone – give it to someone who wears contacts as their primary means of sight and you’re basically giving the person a one-way ticket to Hell. I had to wear glasses for a week and because the depth perception is very different, I ran in to just about everything. I’m pretty certain I should not have been driving that week.
On the first day of contracting pink eye, I received the wonderful news from your preschool teacher that you may had been exposed to lice given that one of your playmates went home early that day after it was discovered that she had ‘the bugs.’ I never had lice nor do I know what it looks like. For some reason I always envisioned lice as these big beetles walking slowly around the scalp and you can just pluck them out with tweezers and voila, you’re clean! I quickly took to YouTube and discovered I was dealing with a full blown military grade operation. I was to take you outback with an assortment of hair ties to hold back your hair in sections as I comb through your hair with a fine-toothed comb looking for tiny-rice shaped eggs that attach themselves to the hair follicle. I read that sitting outside provided the best light for catching these little things so we endured mid-ninety degree heat as I attempted to see through my goopy eye at what I imagined was a major bug infestation occurring on your head, just waiting to be discovered. You’re crying and I’m now panicking because I’m uncovering dandruff and weird patches of dry skin on your head and I’m thinking, oh shit, bugs, BUGS! After I tormented you for over an hour in the scorching sun and couldn’t locate an actual egg, I sent you upstairs to take a nap but not before I covered the entire couch in case I missed something. Later that night, I allowed your Father to fulfill his lifelong dream to give his daughter, what you coined, ‘a beauty spa’ as he applied chemical rich lice shampoo to your head. I slept a little better that night knowing I potentially subjected you to unnecessary chemicals for my own well-being.
Being a parent isn’t pretty nor is it easy. I can take on quite a bit with few tears and minimal screaming in to my pillow. I feel well prepared for most things with the exception of mean children. Unfortunately, I thought I had some time before I would even have to venture down this road but it appears evil breeds young. You went to a birthday party of one of your classmates and you were beyond excited – it was princess-themed and it was all you talked about for weeks. You were so excited, you even took the time to write in the little girl’s birthday card and you even sealed it with an actual kiss. We arrived to find that all the guests could put on a princess dress provided by the venue in which you would be whisked away to have your hair done by a sixteen year old girl wearing a slightly too revealing Belle gown. I was so excited for you – the joy in your face was making my teeth hurt. As you were sitting having your hair done, I was approached by two girls in your class who proceeded to tell me that they don’t like you and don’t like to play with you. I’m trying to remain the adult here without slapping them and proceed to inquire why they have such strong feelings towards you. Obviously, they’re many years before reaching a maturity that allows them to hold a meaningful conversation because they only could tell me that you’re mean and icky. They quickly scurried off and I looked at your face through the mirror as you stared back at me with this sad deflated expression on your face having just heard what the two girls told me.
Of course I have to do my motherly duty and inquire with you as to what was going on and you claimed total innocence. I don’t believe anyone is that pure even you, my darling. I also don’t think you’re a raging devil either. Anyways, we brush it off and move on through the party. There was a moment after all the girls were dressed up and the staff gathered everyone up to sit around the birthday girl for pictures and I see you try to sit next to the birthday girl who then proceeds to tell you to sit away from her – she doesn’t want you next to her. The expression on your face left me in shock. I quickly scanned the crowd of parents to see if I was the only one watching this awful behavior. All the other parents seemed to be too wrapped up in their own small talk to notice so I was left there watching this girl torment you. I wanted to grab the girl’s present right then and there and save you from this crap but I didn’t want to make a scene. I look back and think, I should have made a scene. I should have ripped that cheap little plastic tiara from the girl’s head and shoved it up her ass. Instead I stood there with tears in my eyes as I quickly remembered the horrible childhood I had and I began wishing, wishing with every fiber of my body that you don’t get teased.
I was teased beyond belief and I remembered how despite my Mom’s best efforts, her saving me only made the teasing worse. Parenting is hard and I want to protect you from everything including brats like this who make cruel remarks to a four year old. Whether a four or five year old fully comprehends the weight of their words in unknown but you clearly understood because at that point, you wanted to go home. My heart aches and continues to ache weeks after this incident occurred because I realize there are going to be a lot of moments when I can’t be there to save you. You will cry and your heart will be broken time and time again and no amount of princess band-aids will provide you the comfort you so desperately seek. But I want you to know that I’m here for you always. I was teased mercilessly but I lived to tell the tales. I’m here now with a family I adore and friends who are amazing. I had a rough childhood but I like to think that it has helped shape me in to the confident and somewhat sarcastic person I am today. You are amazing and loved and I want you to know that revenge is always acceptable as long as you don’t get caught.