Friday, June 17, 2016

In the Zone

Meet Joan. She's the beautiful one with the got-it-all-together look in the family vacation photo. Joan is the mother of a high schooler, a middle schooler, a grade schooler, and a two-year old. Joan is a Roaring Mom. Joan is a super hero. Joan is nuts!

She doesn't look nuts, does she? She looks calm and in control. But I know that's not possible.

I know because for the last month, my apartment has been Camp Grandma to my three-year-old grandson.

I've always said God gave me good children because he knew I wouldn't know what to do with bad ones. Same goes for the grandkid. He's a good kid. Polite (especially when bribed with ice cream). Potty-trained (mostly). Cooperative (sort-of). He's three, remember? His version of all these trait is quite different from the rest of the world.

Still, I'm sure there are more than a few folks who think I might be a child abductor. In fact, one man and his three kids followed me from the playground to the park restrooms while I madhandled the banshee-screaming toddler. I was only trying to keep him from pulling down his pants and peeing on the merry-go-round, but they didn't know that.They listened at the door while I promised all kinds of candy and cookies and and Dr. Pepper, if he would only cooperate already. I endured 30 more minutes of playtime with this man's skeptical eye on me. Can you even imagine this scene with a frustrated grade schooler, an annoyed middle schooler, and an embarrassed high schooler in tow?

At one time in my life, I had four kids under the age of seven. I don't know how I did it. I really don't. Was I on autopilot? Was I daily teetering on the brink of sanity? Did I ever accomplish anything other than getting from one hour to the next?

Some things have come back to me. The necessity of opera lunch. Did you know singing during lunch makes it magically more fun to eat?  Ice cream for dinner. If you throw some fruit on it, you've covered two food groups. Bribery without guilt. I will promise anything if he will just go to sleep or put on his shoes or leave the new toilet paper roll in tact. Examine Exhibit A. He came to Camp Grandma with three Hot Wheels cars. Three.

I know for a fact life was easier when I had four under seven, and I think it's because I was in that zone--that Teflon, ten-second-rule-believing, dirty-face-tolerating, Dora the Explorer binge-watching, Super Mom cape-wearing zone. For the past decade, I've been in the eye-rolling, dirty-shin gaurd-smelling, teen-drama-dealing, never-enough-food-in-the-house mode. I can't even imagine Joan's life. She's living in all four zones at once. I bow to you, Joan. (Nice job working that insanity camouflage.)

Shout out to all parents in every Roaring Mom zone. You're crushing it today. If all you do is get through the next hour, you're right where you need to be. Even if you had to bribe yourself with ice cream to get there!

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