Well, after seeing this post, my new blogging-best-friend Brenda informed me that she already has the oh so coveted Mother of the Year crown. (But at least we have confirmation that it is indeed, a crown, and not some super lame trophy. So yay!! Cyber knuckle knocks all around!) So Brenda, consider this your warning: you better polish it up Baby, because it's about to change hands! I mean heads!
So let me just set this juicy little story up for ya. Last night my sweet faced 10 year old Junior asks if he can go out to my car to borrow my iPod cable so he and Minimac can rock out with the wicked awesome iCoaster they spent most of the early evening building. So of course, in order to get into the car he needs the keys because it's locked. Duh. Fast forward to this morning, I give the five minute warning (which really means ten and I think they are on to me) and Junior comes into my bathroom where I am combing his sister's hair. He tells me he is not sure what he did with my keys when he came in. Last night. So I ask if he has looked for them and he says yes. So I say go look some more.
A few minutes later I find him playing with legos on the living room floor. I ask if he found my keys. He says no. I tell him he better keep looking. Now I have to say, by this time I am getting a little irritated because A) my keys are lost - and B) he doesn't seem to be concerned that my keys are lost and C) we need to leave in less than 5 minutes. So we all start looking for the keys. He's looking upstairs where they were playing with the iCoaster, I am looking in the kitchen, Minimac is looking in the living room, and Boo is looking in my purse and her backpack (whatever, she thought she was helping). Next thing I know Junior is sitting on the stairs with his backpack, sunglasses on, head on hands on knees. Here is the conversation that ensued:
Me: What are you doing?
Me: Did you find them?
Me: Dude. What are you waiting for?
He: For you to finish looking for your keys.
In case you haven't guessed, this is where I lose it. I mean this is a bright kid. On the honor roll. Can explain all that boring stuff about how earthquakes happen. Knows every car on the road, its average gas mileage, horsepower and when they are coming out with a new body style. Lectures me on filling up with a higher octane every thousand miles or so because it's good for the fuel injector. Reads encyclopedias for fun. Totally against Barack Obama because he thinks his stance on immigration is crap. No, I am not kidding.
So I am yelling. I am blaming. I am losing my flipping mind because now we are off schedule, they might be late for school, I might be late for work, blah blah blah. And he just doesn't care. I know what you are thinking, too. Where's my spare set? Not the point! For one thing, I don't have a spare key to my place of work. And can you imagine how embarrassing it is to call your boss while he is out of town to say "Yeah, I'm not coming in because I don't have a key." Never mind that I myself misplace my keys almost every other day. Seriously, at least three times a week I ask Uberman "Have you seen my keys?" To which he always responds with an eye roll, a shake of the head, an exhale-slash-sigh thing and a "No, I have NOT seen your keys." This is not about me, okay? This is about an irresponsible 10 year old losing my keys. (You know, I couldn't even type that with a straight face.)
Now Junior is my sensitive child. The one who will grow up to be a minister, or a doctor or join the peace corps. Junior has empathy for everyone. Junior is like a third parent to his younger siblings. Junior is repsonsible. He is the only person in this house who will do something without being asked. When he had to get glasses for reading, he felt bad it cost us so much money. Because $100 is a fortune to a kid. Junior is a 40 year old man trapped in a 10 year old's body.
Now just because he is all of those things, doesn't mean he can't be a master manipulator. He starts getting teary eyed and here come the "I can't do anything right" speeches. Which only fan my anger fire. I am ticked off and he knows it. And my voice is rising. And I can hear myself and I know I sound like a crazy person. I am one jar of cold cream away from "No. Wire. Haaaannngeeeerrrrs!!!" And my inner Dr. Phil starts speaking. Cue southern accent: "Yur a-chain-jun who heeee eeizz!" (Yes I have an inner Dr. Phil. I also have an inner Oprah, an inner Posh Spice and an inner Elle Woods. What of it?)
I take a few deep breaths. I lower my voice and I ask him calmly to retrace his steps after he came in last night. He says "I thought I tossed them on the table in the entry way." So I say, through gritting teeth, "If you tossed them on the table, they. Would. Be. On. The. Table." Deep breath in, deep breath out. He says "I don't know, Mom. That's what I did with them."
Forget it, we need to go. I shoo everyone out the door, lock it with my spare set (Thank you God I knew where those were) and get everyone in the car praying that my office door wil miraculously be unlocked. As I back out of the driveway, I yell, I mean firmly state, that after school, no one - NO ONE - will be watching TV, listening to iPods, playing or participating in any type of recreation that involves any kind of fun until my keys are found. Got it?
The short two minute drive to school is quiet. Junior is looking out the window. I start feeling bad. Low. Convicted. I reach over and take his hand. He kisses my hand. I can feel his tears. He says "I'm sorry." I say "No, I am sorry. I am the grown up. I should not behave like that. It is not okay."
He gets out of the car. I tell him I love him. He says "I love you too." Which he never says when he gets out of the car at school. God forbid someone hear him saying something so uncool to his mom. I tell him he is a good kid. It was not his fault I yelled. It is not okay for a grown up to behave so childishly. Then he is comforting me, "It's okay. You're a good mom." I cry the whole way out of the parking lot and onto the road. I call Uberman and replay the whole horrific morning, adding in the I suck at this, and I'm a terrible mother, these poor kids deserve better, maybe he still has a shot with Selma Hayek, I hear she's a great mom, blah blubber blah. And Uberman says . . .
"I have your keys. They were in my hat (which I lovingly call his man purse) that was on the table in the entry way."
As soon as I got to work (door unlocked, thank you Lord!!), I sent his teacher an email. "Um, hi. This is Junior's crazy mom. Can you please tell him his dad had the keys? And all is well. And we are totally not emotionally abusing this kid, I swear. We are like totally the perfect little Beaver Cleaver family. Mmmkay? Thankssomuch."
So I am pretty sure with Junior it will be therapy instead of college. Thank God he is so smart, he'll probably get a scholarship anyway. And when I picked him up for school? Instead of a mopey I'm still afraid of you smile, I got a "Mom, guess what? Jack* totally farted today in art! It was an art fart! Get it? I was so embarrassed for him." So no, not emotionally damaged at all.
So commence with the spit shinin' of my crown Brenda! Make sure you pack it up real nice in bubble wrap. And if it came with one of those silky sash things, you can keep that. I don't need to draw any more attention to my hips!
*Name changed to protect fellow 10 year old's privacy and fragile self esteem.