Friday, October 5, 2007

Mommy dearest moment

There's nothing worse than when you're having what you thought was an anonymous "mommy dearest" moment in a public place and it turns out that someone you know, or will know, is watching.

On the way home from our family reunion last week we had to catch an 8:30 am flight out of JFK which meant leaving my grandmother-in-law's house at 6 am to return the car and check in with enough time. We woke the kids up and they were fine. Put them in the car in their pajamas. No problem. My husband drops us off at Departures, piles all of our luggage inside, and then takes the car to the rental place while we wait for him.

At about 6:45 my son tells me he has to pee. I tell him he can either hold it or go pee pee in his pull-up. I know that was probably confusing but what else could I do? I couldn't leave our stuff. I couldn't leave my seven month old to watch the bags. I couldn't schlep everyone into the ladies room. And my husband was still at-large.

He finally returns and we put the kids in their clothes and I ask my son if he wants to go pee pee and he says no. Meanwhile he never went in his pull-up and now he's in underwear. Nevermind. We check in, get through security. Now it's nearly 8:00 and my son still has not peed but now he's agitated since he has had to take his shoes off for security AND put his kitty cat in through the x-ray machine. Now everything is no. NO! NO! NO!

Me: Honey, do you want to go pee pee now?
Him: NO!
Me: Sweetie, I know you have to go. It's better to go now than have to go in the little potty on the plane.
Him: NO! I don't have pee pee.
Me: Just come with me to the toilet and try to go.
Him: (screaming and kicking) NO!!!!!

I tried to get him to go and he made a scene. On our way back to where my husband was standing he went limp and refused to walk and of course I refused to carry him. You think YOUR angry muchacho?! I'm about to whip out the wire hangers... So he's screaming and I have him by the armpit, dragging him back to our gate. And he's shouting, YOU'RE HURTING ME! and I'm saying, in Hebrew, thinking that it's okay since no one can understand me, I don't give a rat's ass if this is hurting you. I know. Very mature. So then my husband takes over and brings him to the men's room where he refuses to take off his pants and instead pees on himself.

My son returns and he's wet and now I have to change his clothes in the middle of the terminal because our flight is leaving and I'm telling him, again in Hebrew (the secret code language) that he will not open his mouth for the entire flight. And he will listen to and obey my every command. He's sobbing and I'm this close to having a major come-apart.

We get on the flight and I say I'm sorry for yelling at him and dragging him and he says he's sorry and now we're friends again. End of story. Until six hours later when we're at baggage claim and we run into a friend of a friend - Israeli - who's picking up his Israeli friend, who was just on our flight. Did your son manage on the flight without any more accidents?

I used to see parents, in airports or department stores or parking lots or wherever, dragging their kids around, screaming at them, and think what an awful mother. She's just teaching her kid that yelling is acceptable. She should just listen to her child. People who don't like kids or can't control their tempers, shouldn't have kids... What an idiot I was.

All of that is true but in the moment you become a toddler yourself and then you both spiral into a dark and chaotic place where dragging is acceptable and so is name-calling and threatening. It's an ugly place. And if you're me, you make your threats in a foregin language hoping that none of the other adults within earshot will realize just how pathetic you are.

Until a hebrew-speaking friend of a friend's friend shows up at baggage claim to hold you accountable. And you're left only with the shame of your actions, a migraine, six feet of luggage and the hope that next time you'll remember that you're the adult and that your three-foot companion is just trying to figure it all out.


Julie said...

First of all thank you for a great laugh!!! I know it's not right to laugh at the misery of others - but when it's written in such an amusing way, how could I keep a straight face through it all.

Oh the complete illogic of little kids! Don't you hate it when they take one weak moment of your own lack of consistency and just run it into the ground!

Just a word of advice - JFK airport in NYC - not exactly a place to think you won't be understood if you speak in Hebrew. It's likely that you could speak in any language under the sun in JFK and SOMEONE is going to understand you. And I'm guessing that Hebrew and Spanish are two languages that would result in LOTS of people understanding you. Still, I have to admire the attempt to be undercover.