Thursday, October 16, 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 YOUR BABY BROTHER WITH WINNIE THE POOH on Friday?”

“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 my two-year-old 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 issue when our kids go outside. Instead of “Look both ways when you cross the street,” we proclaim statements like, “Please don’t play catch with the horse manure, remember to take the stick to beat 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!”


Jenni said...

Eh, I've never been much of a phone person anyway. Hilarious post, Erin, and so very true:o)

DayPhoto said...



Farm Fresh Jessica said...

That is so good.

you need to tell my husband that last one. He's sat down with eggs in his pocket more than once!

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

That was so funny! And so true. I think there should be a book written, "Things I never expected to say as a mother..." I like chatting online myself, then my friends can't hear my random yelling at the kids!

The W.O.W. factor said...

I'm still chuckling! You got the scenarios across brilliantly!

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