I have learned from a very young age via the gripes from my mother when my dad would become sick and I learned first hand when I started dating your father way back in the day, that you don’t want to be around a man when he gets sick. I’m not talking about the flu or a heavy duty respiratory infection, I’m talking even minor things like the common cold. Men are wimps when it comes to experiencing any kind of discomfort. Suddenly with the slightest tinge of pain, the world as we know it suddenly ceases to exist because they have a headache and their throat is a little scratchy. As a little girl, I remember my mom heaving fair warning to me that men are the worst when it comes to illness and I remember thinking what a peculiar thing to say. Obviously, I didn’t have to deal with my father and if it didn’t pertain to Saturday morning cartoons, Barbies or Care Bears, what did I care? Once I moved in with your dad, I quickly learned what my mother had been trying to tell me all those years before. Your dad is a cranky hot mess with even a moderate cold. Best thing to do is to pick up an outdoor hobby or run copious errands just to avoid being around that.
Now that I am raising you, I am learning that this behavior is something that begins from the time of birth. You come down with a sniffle or the slightest body ache and suddenly the apocalypse is upon us. Nobody will have a productive day nor a sleepless night if you are feeling the slightest bit of discomfort. After a rather long day yesterday, I finally crashed and prepared for a glorious night of rest when suddenly I awoke to the whines and cries of you at the end of the hall. This middle of the night interruption would continue for another six times in a two hour time span. I do my best to be maternal and understanding but even I have limits and at 1:30 in the morning, I am not a shining beacon of love. Another problem is you don’t understand when to rest. Last night, you vomited an entire days worth of food and then immediately began begging for your dinner which just so happened to be a big greasy cheesy sandwich. Obviously, I wasn’t aware you were going to barf otherwise I would have planned dinner accordingly but this is the situation at hand. When instead I offered you a bowl filled with delicious saltine crackers, you threw a behemoth fit and continued to beg for more food for the better part of the hour. I finally gave in after numerous attempts by your father and I trying to explain to you that we know a thing or two about illness only to find our advice hitting deaf ears so we allowed you to eat a few slices of apple. After ten minutes had passed, you began to whine again that your stomach hurt. Can’t say I didn’t warn you.
I would like to tell you that being a stay-at-home mom sees little drama and the nonsense I do deal with is typically created by you and your sister. Unfortunately, you will probably learn that there are even adults out there who act like children. This past Monday while you and I were in attendance at Olivia’s swim lessons, we had the opportunity to watch a kerfuffle unfold in front of us. Well, you had an iPad and headphones and were so enthralled with the device in front of you that you missed out on a wonderful display of adults acting like rotten children. I should warn you–when staring at a device, pick your head up every now and then. I just read about a teenage girl who was so focused on checking Facebook on her phone that she walked right off a pier in to the water. Don’t do this.
So, Monday night we’re at Olivia’s swim lessons. You’re sitting next to me, looking at the iPad and on the other side of you is a woman and her parents. All three of them are watching a little girl in Olivia’s class. Since August, I have watched the traveling circus that is this one particular family that consists of a Grandma who arrives with her pre-teenish grandson and her younger grandaughter who also has lessons. Usually in the middle of class, the Mother shows up. The Grandma has to have the front row of the viewing area or she freaks out. If there is a situation where she doesn’t arrive early enough and the front row is taken, she’ll either sit extremely close to the individual and awkwardly continue to stare at them for the better part of the lesson until they move or she’ll sit directly in front of them on a bench that is meant for bags to obscure their views. Again, to make them uncomfortable so they’ll move and she can take their seats. She likes to make snarky comments, always just loud enough so the party she is talking about can hear her but yet she is avoiding conflict by not saying it directly to them. People sit in the front row all the time–the problem with this party is there are three of them and they all have to sit smack together so they create a wall. No matter where you sit behind them, you can’t see beyond them. It’s annoying. Grandma even commented one of the times she came to watch Olivia because despite these people coming week after week, they refuse to allow another to have these seats without putting up some kind of a fight.
Monday night was no different. As I mentioned, you and I were in the front row along with another family. The other woman usually is alone but it looks like her parents were able to come this time to watch their granddaughter. We’re settled in and class is about to begin. Grandma arrives and quickly becomes anxious because her beloved front row is taken. She sits on the bench right in front of the Grandpa and sits up nice and tall with her arms on her hips. The Grandson, seeing that the bench isn’t really a seat, decides to sit in an open chair behind me. The other family becomes livid and starts speaking in Cantonese to each other. Obviously they know what this woman is trying to do. She does her usual uncomfortable stare in the direction of the family and the family in response begins to talk a little louder. Meanwhile, the Grandma keeps waving to her Grandson to join her on the bench and he keeps waving her off. At this point, after realizing that her Grandson will not be joining her, she picks up her stuff and sits down in the chair next to him. On the way over, she says in the direction of the other family, “they’re just talking–they’re not even watching their granddaughter swim.” As if this means they don’t have the right to sit in those chairs because they’re eyes aren’t 100 percent focused on the water. She sits down next to her grandson and says, “you’re such a party-pooper.”
One thing I want you to know about me is I don’t like conflict. Perhaps that’s why I watch Desperate Housewives crap television because I get my fill of conflict that way. I’m not sure if it’s my age or because I’m a parent now or maybe it’s because I’m just downright exhausted but I find myself lately becoming a no bullshit kind of person. There was the incident at the Cape this last summer when after watching a group of people tease a teenager, I stepped in and said something. That’s not typical behavior of me or at least it didn’t used to be. That’s not to say I wouldn’t step in to help someone if they were being teased but I’m no longer scared to stand up to certain people out of fear that they will do something to me. Monday was no different. After months of watching this adult woman bully her way in to seats and after hearing the comment she made to her grandson, I had, had enough. I turned around and asked the woman, “is there a problem?” She was absolutely stunned. She quickly shook her head and claimed there wasn’t a problem and I pointed out what I witnessed her try to do and in fact, what I had watched her do for the last few months. The next thing I know, the other family turns around and in agreement with me, begins to berate this woman. The grandma then begins screaming at me, “LOOK WHAT YOU’VE STARTED! SHUT UP AND MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. TURN AROUND–SHUT UP!” Now I’m the one who is stunned.
In case you’re wondering if this is normal behavior for an adult? I can honestly say, no. While the woman is screaming at me, she begins to start pointing her finger in my face and suddenly I’m reminded of how you and Olivia try to get on each other’s nerves by putting your hand in their face while repeating, I’m not touching you. It’s the same kind of way this lady is acting with me and the other family. The Grandma, still screaming at me, begins to tell me that the other lady drove to close to her on the freeway and she was scared for her safety. I’ve dealt with my fair share of crazy in my life. I come from a family rich in crazy so I can see when a person is beyond normal functioning. Clearly this woman is among those special individuals. After the shut ups begin to escalate again and there is more finger pointing in faces, I decide to find the manager to hopefully escort this woman elsewhere. The manager comes in and tries to diffuse the situation with little luck. I try to explain to the manager what had unfolded mere minutes before and the woman begins hovering over you while screaming at me to shut up. I’m trying to protect you with my arms while telling the woman to calm down because she is in the presence of children and she shouts back that she doesn’t care. I should also point out that you still have not picked your head up from the iPad despite a woman screaming right next to your ear.
I sit back and allow the two parties to duke it out with the manager. As the manager tries to speak quietly with one party at a time, the Grandma will walk over and start yelling again or vice versa. Meanwhile, I’m sitting back thinking, wow–I really stirred the shit pot this time. After the Grandma’s daughter showed up and it was apparent that the daughter was as equally crazy as the Grandmother, they were escorted in to the pool area to retrieve their daughter where they declared they were never coming back. Thank God, it’s a Christmas miracle. I stuck around after Liv’s class to talk with the manager to fill her in on what actually happened and she proceeded to tell me how the argument quickly took a turn for the worse and became a racial thing. I explained to the manager that I had witnessed this Grandma over the course of four months, bully her way in to the front row because she had to have those seats for what ever reason. I had seen enough and what I had ultimately hoped by asking if there was a problem, was to make obvious to this woman that we were all aware of the games she was playing and it wasn’t ok. Despite the Grandma cancelling her granddaughter’s lessons, out of safety concerns, the other lady also decided to change her daughter’s lessons. So it looks like we’ll have the entire front row to ourselves after all.
In no way did I expect to get the reaction I did but on the other hand, I grew tired of sitting around watching an adult act like a child. I deal enough with juvenile behavior that I certainly don’t need to watch it coming from adults. Certainly there will be occasions from time to time that you will witness this and I’m obviously not going to point it out every time but this was becoming a regular occurrence and I became tired of it. I should also point out that you still didn’t lift your head up until I told you it was time to pick up Olivia. You handed over the iPad and headphones without any knowledge of what had happened. Even though I’m so incredibly lucky and grateful you didn’t witness that sad display of an adult, I’m also a little worried about how quickly you and your generation quickly turn off the world around you. Be careful or you’re going to find yourself walking off a pier and I’m going to be too embarrassed to save you. Learn to swim or pick up your head every now and then. Case in point, you missed out on some nice suburban drama.
Next month is a big month in this household–you’re starting preschool! I submitted the tuition earlier this week so it’s a done deal. I originally was only planning on sending you for two half days but when the school pointed out that they have a three day minimum, I happily agreed to comply with their rules. I should be more solemn about this but all I keep thinking about is the few precious hours I’m going to have to myself. You’re going to do fine and you’re already telling every stranger from here to there that you’re going to school. You have no problem being away from me and you seem to have great ease in making friends. In fact, just the other day at the playground, you walked up to a little Asian boy and said, “Ni Hao!” I’m going to thank Daniel and Kai Lan for this one. I sat back at this point a little intrigued as to what would happen next. Are you actually a little genius in the making? The other child’s mother was standing near by and she was equally surprised at this little blond boy saying, ni hao. Stunned, the woman asked you, “do you speak Chinese?!” You: “Yes” Woman: “What other words do you know?” You: “Arrow” So much for international genius.
You have become quite the little stuffed animal enthusiast. In addition to sleeping with a heavy rotation of twenty plus animals on your bed every night, when we’re out in stores and you come across the stuffed animal displays, you immediately have to check them out. You talk to them for a bit and then when it’s time to go, you have to give each and everyone a hug and kiss. This can be a really sweet moment and it can be agony when I really need to use the bathroom and we just happen to pass the Noah’s Ark display. I have to be careful with you because you’re an animal snatcher. I have spent hours with Olivia looking for her animals only to discover that you swiped them and hid them in your bed. Sneaky sneaky.
Your speech therapy is coming to an end at the end of the month and it’s astonishing how far we’ve come in a year. This time last year we could barely make out three words and this year we can’t get you to stop talking. I knew we reached the greatest level of achievement when recently at your first Nutcracker performance, as we watched a male and female dancer make their way on to the stage and the entire audience was quiet, you groaned and said, “what is this?” Yes, I believe you no longer have a speech problem.
The new year is quickly approaching and as I reflect on this past year, I’m so happy with how much you’ve grown and the little boy you’ve become. Sure, every day has its challenges and you’re still very much a kid who has massive problems with self control but as proof from the events of this past week, so do some adults. We struggle a lot at times but there are also genuinely sweet moments with you that make me so incredibly grateful to be your Momma. That all changes though if these self-control issues continue in to adulthood. No public kerfuffles or you lose all your stuffed friends–I think that’s a fair deal.
You, according to my phone: