I vent about motherhood all the time. I’m just not one to sugar-coat or keep it to myself. There is no filter on this mommy, but I know that’s what you all love so much about me. Sure being Mason’s mommy is amazing, but I’m also really fucking tired, like all of the time no matter what I do. I wouldn’t mind an all expense-paid vacation to a hotel for just one night ALONE, where I could sleep, sleep more, wake up, and then sleep even more. No one would barge in on me in the bathroom and I wouldn’t have to negotiate any critical, time-sensitive matters such as how many pieces of broccoli one must eat before being allowed to leave the dinner table or how many minutes of playtime one gets before nap time. Or how many stickers one must receive on the poop reward chart before picking out a toy at the store. I complain about my three-year old a lot. Of course I love him more than anything, but most days I feel like I’m raising a tiny terrorist. And on good days? The most adorable tiny terrorist you will ever meet. If three-year olds had dating profiles, my son’s would start with: Mason Schwartz – master manipulator with a killer smile, gorgeous green eyes, great hair and winner of the bedtime battle of wills with the heart-melting phrase, “But I haven’t given you a kiss and hug yet.”
Even though I vent and complain and rant and curse...a lot, there truly are incredible moments. It can be pretty fucking awesome! To remind myself of this when I’m struggling down in those trenches with my bossy, whiny, and tantrum-throwing drill-sergeant little one, I’m going to write about how amazing I still think he can be. And he can be really amazing and say and do amazing things. I used to cringe when hearing parents talk about how incredible it was to see and rediscover the world through their children’s eyes. How cheesy, right?
So fucking true! It’s crazy and beautiful and awe-inspiring and extraordinary to watch my child discover the world around him. And the shit that comes out of his mouth as he expands his vocabulary and interacts with other children and adults? Crazy! Right now I am constantly blown away by my son’s imagination and curiosity. If he sees anyone doing a task, he wants to know how he or she does it and how he can help. And then of course he needs to do it by himself. When he gets home, he recreates the situation in his play room with the toys he has. Let me explain.
Right now my son has two obsessions: construction and car washes (my husband takes him to the car wash every Saturday after breakfast, before soccer. It’s their special time). At home in his playroom, he takes turns being a “fixer man” and a car wash man. If he’s a fixer man he takes out his digger, bulldozer, mixer trucks, and tools, as well as any of his little people with vests on. If it has a vest on, it’s a construction man. He then proceeds to “fix the roads” which involves him drilling and hammering on the carpet and then pushing his wooden lawn mower over the area to smooth it out. Once the road is fixed and smoothed, his toy cars are permitted to drive over it.
After this gets old, it’s time to build a car wash. He takes his cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, and buses and lines them up in single file to wait to be washed. This is where his imagination and ability to play pretend floors me. He lays his broom and vacuum out, pretending they are the tracks. He drives the first car through, spraying imaginary soap on it, and uses the mop to imitate the rotating brushes inside an actual car wash. When that part is complete, he opens the hood of the car and uses his duster to clean inside. To make sure he didn’t miss a spot, he uses the empty soap brush he asked for at out last trip to Target. Once he deems the car clean, he uses his Finding Dory-themed fan to blow it dry. And just to make sure, he uses a paper towel too.
Lately every chance he gets, he asks, “Can I go make a car wash?” He is always adding new elements to his creation. Yesterday he started using various kinds of blocks to build the actual car wash building. He just blows me away with this stuff and play pretend skills.
When we came home from camp today, he recreated his classroom at rest time. He laid his five guitars (yes we have also had a guitar obsession) in a row and asked me for some blankets and a chair. He told me the guitars were cots and he needed blankets for his friends so they could go to sleep. He needed the chair so he could sit and watch them just like his counselors at camp do.
Two nights he asked forced me to lie down on the couch so he could give me a check up. Fully clothed in his doctor costume, he informed me I was sick and needed to rest under a blanket. Because according Daniel Tiger, when one is sick, “Rest is best. Rest is best.” He was so generous he even shut my eyes for me and confiscated my cell phone so I could “sleep” and get better. “Mommy, you can’t be on your phone anymore because you’re sick.” When he decided it was time to wake up, he brought me soup and mac and cheese (my favorite) from his play kitchen.
When I’m not “sick” he likes to sit me at the table and take my food order. I always tell him I want ice cream and he always says, “Mommy, you have to eat dinner first.” Oh buddy, I wish you would follow your own rules from time to time. And one day you will realize that sometimes mommy eats ice cream for dinner but you are too young to those secrets.
Oh and let’s not forget about his obsession with airplanes and the man who takes his stroller when he boards and returns it when he deplanes. Last week, he pretended that his NYC subway car was a stroller. He brought me the stroller and said, “I a stroller man. I’m putting the stroller under the airplane.” The airplane was my stomach. I was lying on the floor at the time taking a play break. He then returned to my stomach, I mean the airplane, and informed me it was time to take the stroller back. He did this on repeat for at least thirty minutes.
Mason is only three-years old and he has already had more jobs than I’ve had in my 34 years of life—construction man, car wash man, stroller man (if that’s even a thing), guitar player, camp counselor, and chef--sorry, I mean boss chef as he likes to call himself. What an overachiever! The only career that seems to have stuck for me is mom--probably because it’s not the easiest job to quit and it’s a lifetime commitment. I also have a Masters degree and I’m really good at cleaning up shit and catching throw up with my bare hands…but who’s keeping track.