Monday, June 9, 2008

More Self Pity

Felix's dad gave me a level look: "Good mom" he said without a trace of irony.

But he's wrong. With the attitude I had I shouldn't have shown up. I was a very Very Bad Mom.

A better attitude would have gotten me through:

The interminable readings of the 5 children who had published their own works: too-soft reading voices, losing their place, not able to read their own writing, trailing off and starting over. Around me a cacophony of cell phones playing, smaller children's spontaneous spoutings, feet drumming on chairs and floors. Scott's in my lap trying to plaster my face with wet kisses, perpetually sliding down my thighs and needing to be hiked up; kicking my shins as he squirms. The lap dance of the wiggles. And this is in the first 10 minutes. Then Billy passes out graduation hats for the actual moving up ceremony. So now I'm trying to avoid being poked in the eye with the corner of cardboard.

There are 20 kids in the class. 19 were of them out with a bout of chicken pox. Each child had to have something nice said about them. There were 5 kindergartners, then 5 first graders, 10 second graders. Once the younger kids were given their certificates they were at the edge of their attention spans and there were 10 more kids to go.

One of the kindergartners lost it first and the teacher requested one of the parents take him outside. Scott immediately wanted to go too. So I put on my coat to go out and help the parents.

Fortunately it was a wide sidewalk because it's a busy street and they were bursting with pent-up energy. (They'd had to walk a substantial number of blocks to get there, so it's hard to know where that came from.) The store takes up nearly the entire block, and one side is bounded by a street that isn't obviously a street. It looks more like a driveway, or an alleyway, but I noted a stop sign. So I was uneasy when the children would hurtle themselves in that direction. I stationed myself by a doorway and told them that this was their boundary--to not go beyond that. Then I had to enforce it. Setting a boundary, of course inspires children to flirt with it and ultimately I feel a bit foolish at having to get literal about defending it. Here's where I reveal myself as pitbull parent. Of course they managed to get excessive enough outside to be disruptive inside, bending over and pretending to send jets of fart at each other. So back inside we had to go, to 'sit quietly on the couches at the back of the store'. Where they proceeded to torment each other to tears.

So, the ceremony dragged on an eternal half hour after the attention spans stretched, and broke, for the younger kids.

To complete the indignity of surrendering one of my very final days to myself, Gary got home from Asia yesterday and took today off. He wants to 'talk', and I want to be left alone to blog and recover.

If I had a better attitude I'd deserve a medal. If I had a better attitude I'd be happy with a medal. I'd rather have a mojito.


Lori said...

Mojitos TOTALLY beat medals. Every time.

I'm shuddering from hearing about the readings...h-h-h-h-h-h-h.

Good luck with the talking.

And, for the record, I think you're a good mom. "Don't be so hard on yourself," is what I'm always told.

Mrs. Spit said...

Ahhh. I think you are a good mum, you didn't bring beer, you know, just to take the edge off. . . .

For what it's worth, I've discovered that if there is a secret language of women, it's this: whatever we do, we beat ourselves up. We never quite measure up to this standard that no one quite articulates.

Wordgirl said...

The beer comment made me laugh.

You know I love to read your blog because immediately I feel a kind of kinship -- my son, well my stepson (but I normally don't use the qualifier) is 8 -- and I often feel like I'm not 'motherly' enough -- I want to be reading and writing, I wish I could strike up a friendship with the mother to the left of me, but she often looks at me blankly, catching up with her friend on the latest upheaval at the PTA fundraiser --and I think -- am I cut out for this?

Thank you -- and I have no doubt that you're a good mom -- anyone who seems so self-aware is the kind of parent I'd want!


Now I have to catch up on your archives -- I'm intrigued!