By Guest Blogger Laura Simon
Today I found a pair of underwear in my powder room sink.
Size six boxer briefs, with the Star Wars logo on the side. They were not wet or stained, they were simply hanging out in a place where boxer briefs should never be.
I was able to find the owner pretty quickly. It was the kid sitting on my beige couch, naked from the waist down.
I had so many questions. Like, “Why did you take off your underwear in the first place?” And, “Why didn’t you put it back on?” “What possessed you to put it in the sink.” And most importantly, “Why is the underwear – and therefore, the sink – still dry? Should I assume that you used the restroom and didn’t wash your hands?”
The short answer? He didn’t know. He didn’t know if he washed his hands. He didn’t know how he wound up naked on the couch. Those boxer briefs grew legs and walked themselves off his body and into the sink, for all he knew.
Some days I’m pretty sure I’m losing my mind.
But then I take a step back and realize I’m not the one who’s crazy. It’s my kids.
Seriously, if my two-year-old was an adult, we’d either put her in the hospital or cast her on a reality show. Yesterday, she had a breakdown at dinner because a fly landed on a chair on the other side of the table. There were tears. There were screams. She simply could not go on until someone killed the fly. I killed it.
Two hours later, she found a spider I’d smashed on the driveway, peeled it up, and ate it.
I am not making this up. Yes, I nearly threw up. No, I couldn’t fish it out of her mouth. She’d already swallowed it. No, I have no idea what possessed her. But it makes the Coke bottle full of dirt that I consumed as a child look like small potatoes, no?
In the chaos my five-year-old spent several minutes caressing the bumper of my minivan and wiping the black gunk on his cheek. I put him in the shower with strict instructions to CLEAN HIS FACE. He spent twenty minutes in that shower while I was preoccupied with his siblings. He invented four original tunes. He steamed up the entire bathroom and the two adjacent rooms. And he emerged from the shower with the dirt still intact on his cheek. Did he even pick up a washcloth? I’m not sure. I think he was admiring his reflection in the chrome fixtures.
I wanted to scream, “YOU HAD ONE JOB!!!!!” But I didn’t, because I’m the mom and I’m not allowed to do that. So I put him to bed with the dirty cheek. I figured most of it would wipe off on the pillow during the night, right? (It did.) Then I checked for new grey hairs, but there are already so many that it’s impossible to tell when they bring new friends.
That same five-year-old cried huge tears at swim team practice because the cement was too hot when he took his crocs off. At home, a few hours later, he intentionally removed his crocs to run across the blacktop cul-de-sac in his bare feet. Not a tear was shed, even though I’m pretty sure blacktop is hotter than cement in the sun.
It’s not just my kids that are crazy. Tonight, I listened to a neighbor child ask if he could jump a skateboard off another neighbor’s patio roof. He’s eleven. He dialed it down a bit in response to his mother’s reaction, and asked if they could “just” go up on the roof and drop the skateboard off instead. It was a science experiment to see if it would land with the wheels up or down. Do you know what this means for me? I have years of this craziness left to go. My oldest is only seven.
At least 300 times a day, I think to myself, “This is why I drink.” Except that I don’t drink. Well, I rarely drink. It’s just the only response my brain can come up with when I’m facing the sort of ludicrous that comes with parenting young children.
Sometimes when I’m trying to talk to my husband, I’ll spend whole minutes trying to remember the word I’m thinking of. He can’t understand what’s happened to me. After all, I was pretty articulate in my 20’s when I met him. I’d tell him it’s because of the underwear in the sink, but he wouldn’t understand. I think this type of madness is directly related to the sweet, tender, and utterly confounding experience that we call motherhood.
I imagine things will level out when my kids get into their twenties and their brains finish developing, but by then I’ll probably be the one who can’t find my underwear because I left it in the sink while I was admiring my fully white head of hair. I’ll be sure to do that when my kids bring dates home to visit. It’s only fair, right?