Posted on | May 27, 2014 | 2 Comments
Before becoming a parent, I thought I understood the whole “some days you’re the cat and some days you’re the mouse” line of thinking. I thought it made sense… I mean, some days are good and some days are bad, right? It’s not hard to understand.
And then I became a mother of a boy and suddenly all of that cat and mouse, dog and fire hydrant, nonsense hit me square in the face like the moment you first remove a baby boy’s diaper and, well, you get hit square in the face. I, quite literally, became a fire hydrant in that moment. And it wouldn’t be the last time.
It’s usually most apparent when you’re around other parents with kids around the same age. Like this weekend… for random example. We split our weekend between two sets of friends… two were friends of mine and two were friends of Banks. While at my friends’ house, my kid was mostly golden. He was also, mostly, the only child. So he was showered with attention and love and basically adored for every tiny thing that came out of his mouth. Sort of like at home. The one time there were other kids around, he behaved swimmingly, offering his lunch to the little girl (yes. I know. I just can’t even.) and not resorting to any sort of histrionics at all. The little girl had a few meltdowns and, let’s face it, in those moments you don’t MEAN to compare… but you do. And you’re totally proud of your kid for holding it together. We left their house on Sunday afternoon and I felt like top dog. My kid was so well-behaved and clearly I was the best parent EVER.
Then we pulled up to Banks’ friends’ house, where the wife was almost 8 months pregnant and a three year old boy was anxiously awaiting play time with J. At first, things seemed to go well. I was still basking in my “dog not hydrant” moments at the prior locale so I just knew that J was going to continue to be his charming, adorable self.
And then, as they say, and then.
First, it started small. Little tiffs between the boys. Little moments where J would say “NO!” or “I DON’T WANT HIM NEAR ME.” Then it became full blown melt downs with tears and stomping around. At one point he slammed the bathroom door; at another, he screamed that he wouldn’t sit at the table with us at the restaurant because he wanted to sit just with me at a booth. He refused to eat. He cried a lot. He wouldn’t share toys. He was about as obnoxious as he could be, as often as he could be obnoxious.
Meanwhile, Banks’ friends’ kid was just chilling. He was in his element, hanging out, telling my kid that he was not being nice, and being basically as awesome as my kid had been the day before at MY friends’ house.
I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t much like it when my kid acts… well… four. I like it when he shows off how awesome he is. I like it when he doesn’t throw fits or slam doors or act as though he was raised by a pack of wolves. But he was tired and he’d been going non stop since Saturday morning… not that I’m making excuses. (No, really I am.)
Saturday and Sunday morning, I was top dog.
By Monday, I was covered in piss.
But as a parent, you have to just come to grips with the fact that there are days when you just have to be the fire hydrant.