The last couple weeks I’ve heard this phrase too many times from the back yard… “Mom, come look at this…” It’s no wonder I have a twitch. And I know most moms of active children have the same twitch. It’s as if you can sense that your child’s feet are above terra firma just by the tone of their voices. It’s as if sound travels only slightly but still audibly different at different heights. For me, six feet is the height at which I can hear my children’s voices travel differently through space towards me.
And although I should probably run worriedly to the back yard, knowing that my children are hanging precariously from such items–
I never know until I get there. But instead, I feel defiant most of the time, when I hear this tone. It’s as if I turn into slow motion mommy because the last thing those little monkeys are going to see before I walk out, even if I’m crying on the inside, is any sign of fear. I say this a lot, but it’s very important when you have children who run on adrenaline and seek that look of weakness on your face—that you never let them think that they are special because they scare you more than other children scare their parents. Because—there is always a child out there who can and will outdo them, but there are children who never climb too high… and they have nicer parents… I digress. MY children will never see me freak out because then I will see the smirk from my seven year old, followed by the question, “Why is that scary, mom?” “Would I die?” “What would happen that would make me hurt?” As if a detailed description might ease his wonder. And I know better. It doesn’t. It prolongs a weird and disturbing conversation of body parts and ways they can be mangled. So I calm myself and I walk out coolly, acting as if it’s no big thang when he’s jumping off the six foot swing set with bare feet or sliding down the gates that are 20 feet off the ground or asking me if he can parachute from the roof with his pillow case. I’m sure Einstein asked the same questions, right? If only my son hadn’t fallen so many times as a very tiny baby trying to run before he could walk correctly, perhaps he would have more brain cells to move these inventions towards something of use. And even if all that changes in the chemical universe is my temperament, I still won’t show it. And when my son tells me his feet hurt, I calmly respond, “Only one more jump dear, since you don’t have any shoes on.” And when he sticks his little man parts in the grating of our shower, I calmly reply, “Please take your pipi out of the shower grating so it doesn’t get stuck. You’ll miss that, dear.” And when my son hands my husband a cup of pee and says it’s tea, I say, “You probably shouldn’t drink that, dear. You might get warts in your throat.” You get the idea, right? There’s no moment at which I will lose it at this point. Famous last words. But today when I heard the phrase I’ve heard too often—in that tone that tells me the height of my children is above six feet, “Mom, come look at this”, I walk calmly out to see my two small boys in the top corner of our lot, which is about 30 feet off the ground, three tiers of rocks above the pool and here’s the kicker—inside the pool gate.
No, they didn’t open the locked part, which I’m fairly certain they can do… They climbed the three levels of fencing and rocks in order to get into the pool area. So, the pool won’t get ‘em, but the 30 foot drop might cause a bruise or two. I’m also thinking back to the jackass who told us that we needed to pay the extra $1500 for additional fencing so we would b e assured NO ONE would be able to get in our pool area. I wish I’d smacked his smug face when he assured me that children get into pool areas every day and I wouldn’t want to be the one who didn’t spend the extra money. Soooo, $1500 later, he can bite me. And my kids, well, I calmly told them to “Get out of the pool area. If they’d like to get the little floaty thing out of the pool area they so badly needed for who the hell knows what, they needed to ask me to open the damn gate. Lucky for me, they both swim like fish—but even fish shouldn’t be in the pool area without an adult… And I’ll tell ya another thing, there is NO way I’m ever closing the back door while my kids play. They can explore and run and act like hooligans as long as I’m the one who can know where they are, feel the height of their voice in the air and coolly let them know they’re not doing anything special. But to get the f*** down or put shoes on or put down the snake or take the bees nest out of their brother’s mouth or whatever it is. They’re just doing something that needs a little correcting. Where’s my freaking martini?