“In my world, everyone's a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!”
― Dr. Seuss
The other day, I was driving Thing 1 to his early morning jazz band practice and I began singing a perfectly made-up song about him and his cello. It was a meandering sort of tune that included all kinds of things about my son and his cello and how he takes his cello everywhere. The lyrics focused on the strings of the cello and how my son would make them come alive and continued on about how the cello was an integral part of his existence. My almost-13-year-old son was in his seat practically crying through his belly laughs.
He doesn't own a cello.
After that, I went on a tirade about the proper pronunciation of words. We ran through some of my favorites: picture vs. pitcher; li-berry vs. library; and even the February vs. Feb-u-ary debate where Thing 1 argued that EVERYONE says Feb-u-ary. "NOT APPROPRIATE!" I roared. "If they didn't WANT a letter "r" in the word, well, then they would have simply LEFT IT OUT! USE THE "R!""
He laughed with his ever deepening, coming-of-age voice and for a moment I marveled at the fact that my kids have an otherworldly experience when it comes to mothers. I mean, don't get me wrong, I DO all the right stuff: I bake the brownies; I attend parent/teacher conferences (when I remember them); I help with homework; and I sit in the car-pool line at morning drop-offs. But they also have a mother who makes up crazy songs and has been known to say (in mixed company), "Son, I will CUT YOU." One of my kids' friends heard me say that once and looked in wide-eyed horror at my youngest son. "Did YOUR MOM just say she was going to CUT YOU?"
He responded nonchalantly. "Oh, yeah. She says that all the time. Maybe she will one day. But probably not."
I figured after that exchange perhaps I should curb my threats of cutting. They're never going to come to fruition anyway. It's just my way of easing R-rated talk into their PG-lives.
My kids are more well-behaved than any parent has a right to reasonably expect. I think it's because they figure that I'm just one step shy of crazy and could easily lose my stuff at any moment so they'd best not push me too far. They tolerate an awful lot of weird behavior from me. When they shared a room when they were little, I woke them up in a few of different ways:
- I would burst into their room with my hairbrush as a microphone singing Barry Manilow's Daybreak at the top of my lungs complete with vigorous back-up singer hand motions (you only WISH you had a video of that).
- They had these stuffed dinosaurs that had different personalities and voices (as ALL stuffed animals do...duh). On the dinosaur mornings, they would threaten to eat whichever sleeping child wouldn't get up. "OH, num, num, I think this EAR would taste good!" And then the dinosaurs would have this weird conversation that I could never remember (because they wanted me to repeat it verbatim the next morning..."Mommy, mommy! Do the part where the dinosaur talks about his friend Frank from the sewer!").
- Sometimes I would invent rap songs using the kids' names in them and talk about how fly the day was if only Thing 1 would arise. I got myself into trouble with the rap because a) I have zero rhythm and b) I would be all out of breath before the end of the first few lines because of the creative "hip-hop" moves I invented to go along with the raps.
At dinner time, I often have them play word games with me (my little dudes have A-MAZING vocabularies that would easily rival most adults I know). If I didn't incorporate the games, all they would do is talk about bodily functions because dinner is OBVIOUSLY the best time for THAT. They have no real desire to tell me about their days. I usually get that in snippets when we're riding somewhere in the car. Boy children keep their days to THEMSELVES, apparently. I've met girl children who will go into every. single. instant. of their days. My boys? Nothin' doin'.
I sing at inappropriate times. I dress up for Halloween. I get FAR too excited about holidays. And my then-preschooler asked me (well before I turned away from the rap I thought they weren't listening to and back to the more age-appropriate Raffi and Laurie Berkner), "What's a 'lady in the street but a freak in the bed' mean?" (My response was "it's a lady who has a lot of very ACTIVE dreams...PLEASE do not repeat those lyrics to ANYONE else!")
So far, my boys tolerate me quite well. I don't know HOW MUCH therapy they'll have to have eventually because of me but I'm assuming it will be significant. All I care about is that they continue to laugh at my antics well into old age.
I'm sure I'll have some new tricks by then. And I wonder if, by blogging all of our family "secrets" NOW, will that cut down on the tell-all books from each of them in the future? It's certainly something to consider.
"Son, the time I accidentally left you in the Target parking lot is SO NOT NEWS. I told everyone about THAT ON FACEBOOK years ago. Suck it up."
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