Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I Can't Believe I Said That

Prior to having four children, I was a relatively normal person. I could conduct a conversation that included no analysis of the bathroom habits of preschoolers. I used sophisticated words and seldom said anything incoherent.

All that changed when I became a stay-at-home mother of four. My vocabulary has become so simplified that I seldom use multi-syllabic words. I often have earnest discussions with my friends about such pressing matters as the effectiveness of sticker charts in potty training.

Worst of all, I say things I never thought I would hear from my own mouth. Not just those tidbits that are faithfully passed down through the generations, such as, “Stop crying before I give you something to cry about!” or “Don’t make me stop this car!”

But things that, if taken out of context, would be enough to commit me to a psychiatric ward.

Some of these gems are uttered while I am having a conversation with someone on the phone. While in mid-sentence, I will suddenly break off and shout, “I have told you a thousand times. You may NOT put the bubble wand up your nose.” Such exclamations sometimes leave the person on the other end of the phone line in a state of bewilderment.

Only other mothers understand. In fact, they are able to add their own shouts of reprimand while keeping the conversation going. A typical exchange might go something like this:
“So, are you going to make it to play group DON’T YOU DARE HIT THE BABY WITH WINNIE THE POOH on Friday?”

“I think so. It depends on the NOW I TOLD YOU TO STOP CLIMBING ON THE KITCHEN TABLE! YOU GET OFF OF THERE RIGHT NOW! ONE . . . TWO . . . THREE . . . weather.

“Oh, I know. It has been so frigid GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF YOUR NOSE AND DO NOT EAT THAT BOOGER these last couple of weeks. I wonder when spring will come?”

Conversations such as those have led me to conduct most of my business correspondence via e-mail. While I find it slightly annoying to type while the two-year-old on my lap struggles to jab at the keyboard, at least my message is not misconstrued if I happen to suddenly say, “Your underwear do not belong in the VCR.”

Taken out of context, these remarks might seem a bit odd to someone not familiar with the daily life of toddlers. And they definitely cause the caller to question both my professionalism and my sanity.

Since we are rearing our children in the country, we have the additional set of warnings to give when our kids go outside. Instead of “Look both ways when you cross the street,” we issue statements like, “Please don’t play catch with the horse manure, take the stick to scare off the rooster, and remember that it’s not funny to convince your little sister to touch the electric fence.”

Just as I reminisce about my mother’s admonitions such as, “If you don’t stop arguing, I’m gonna backhand you,” I figure my kids will someday look back on my bits of wisdom and smile. And someday, maybe my grandchildren will hear the generations of love coming through a simple statement like, “For goodness’ sake, how many times do I have to tell you? You may not ride your bicycle with eggs in your pocket!”

11 comments:

Mum-me said...

Unfortunately, it's all too true at this house as well.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I only let my children play with knives when I am mad at them...

(JOKING! Totally JOKING!)

Philippa said...

I really CAN'T finish a sentence on the phone. What is even more fun is when you call another mother and she is doing the same. My husband is in awe of how we can work out what each other is saying!!
Thanks for making me laugh this morning!

Dawn said...

My husband thinks it's so rude when I carry on a phone conversation with another woman (mother) all the while fussing at the kids, helping with homework and making supper. One day, I laughed and said, "What do you think SHE is doing???" She was doing exactly as I was AND folding laundry. I think men are just secretly jealous that we can multitask better than them! Ha!

I recently discovered your site and love it! I enjoy your style of writing.

Jen said...

Erin, only mothers can read this, shake their head in agreement and understand exactly what you're talking about LOL! Mike's favorite place to conduct business used to be the bathroom we jokingly called it "The Office" not because he had a "going" problem but because it was usually the only place in the house he can go without kid noise. However, lately the 2 yo has such super sonic hearing that now if dad's on the phone and she hears the slight click of the latch on the bathroom door she is in the hall, lying on the floor, howling under the door until he's done. Makes for some short, sweet and to the point phone conversations.

Rhea said...

Your comment on Pioneer Woman's website cracked me up. Boared games = bored games, huh? haha

I love your conversations transcribed above with the kid warnings in between. I feel like that's how my conversation go too. I hate talking on the phone, it's usually impossible. Email is SO much better. Email is my friend.

Let Them Be Little said...

Oh so true!! And thanks for the comment on my blog, when I posted the pics I thought of you and your farm and thought you might enjoy seeing us city slickers at a small farm. We really did have a lot of fun and a part of me would love to live out in the country. Your blog sorta helps me do that, so thanks!

Rhea said...

By the way, I love your new blog template. I actually picked this one out and put it on my blog temporarily but had some trouble with part of it and had to get a different one. This one's gorgeous though, such a lovely color.

Andrea said...

That is all so true! I think as soon as my kids here the phone ring they go into screaming fits or start running wild around the house. They take advantage of the fact that I am on the phone. I say just about all of those same lines that you do. Except that last one, the eggs, I haven't used that one yet.

Anonymous said...

So, true! :-) I think all of us moms can relate to this one! Thanks for the laugh..

Sandy

bestfamily said...

Okay, I loved the comments about the broken phone conversation, Too funny, and all too true. We live in a samll town, and I was raised out in the country, so I get the lifestyle. I hope you don't mind if I continue to read along.

 
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