At this point in my life, I have been a mother for the last 8 years -which boggles my mind in and of itself. My first born came ripping through me a month and a half after my 18th birthday. So, essentially I have had kids my entire adulthood. In that time I have picked up some wisdom, I have begun to gray far too young, and I have developed an incredibly dark viewpoint on motherhood. The first two are unavoidable in my opinion while working the ultimate “learn-on-the-job” gig. But the last one is how I keep my sanity intact amongst the chaos that is actively not killing the three mini-overlords that call me mom. Only by laughing (sometimes literally) in the face of danger am I able to avoid a trip to the psych ward. Especially when it comes to toddlerdom.
Now, before you think this is another one of those mom rants on the terror that is a two year old, just hold on. Don’t get me wrong mood swings at two are tough, but so are meltdowns at three and four and five and you get the picture.
My biggest issue with my current beautiful bundle turned dictator is that he’s constantly trying to kill himself, albeit in new and creative methods. Experience tells me that this is not unique to my youngest. Both of his older siblings went through a similar seemingly accidental suicidal stage at this age as well. To help illustrate this phenomenon, let me paint you a word picture. Imagine a beautifully warm mid-summer afternoon, a friend of mine offers an extra set of hands to aid in taking my middle child, a kind-hearted seven-year-old girl, and my youngest, the aforementioned suicidal rambunctious two year old boy, to a day at the pool. To set the scene, we are at an immaculately-maintained resort pool that we were not guests of, nor did we pay for day passes. My friend Nick, who happens to be a large intimidating-looking tattooed man, and myself, with all (well most) of my tattoos showing, along with long, pointed black nails and my oversized black and white sun hat looking like a vintage gothic goddess.
Needless to say, amongst the J.Crew catalogue families along the poolside, we stuck out. As we made our approach, Nick leaned in to whisper, “They’re gonna smell the poor on us.” A concept that has never kept me from living it up boujee style. There I am, being not so subtlety gawked at by four tan blonde housewives, perched on the side of the kiddie pool as two thirds of my reasons for living are gleefully splashing amidst Western New York’s well-to-do. Seamus, the youngest of my brood, was shrieking (rather loudly) with delight at one of the waterfalls in the splash pool. Yes, you read that correctly, there was not one, but two waterfalls in the kiddie pool at this place! His laughter is one of those magical kid sounds that blots out the nastiness of this world. As I watched him play, poised on the edge of the pool, I was having a conversation with Nick. Not about anything in particular, just some random bullshit. And multiple times, Seamus would just be standing there, playing with the waterfall, my attention in that way that only moms know how to do. Where I can be fully engulfed in conversation with an adult, and somehow, seemingly without even looking at my child, know the exact moment when that beautiful little face decides to go plunging, freefall style, into the water. And makes no attempt at standing. No attempt to pull his face from said water.
As he is actively trying to drown his tiny, little two-year-old body, without even skipping a beat in conversation, I loop my hand under his armpit and stand him back up. Without even turning my gaze to his precious cough-face, I give him a few loving taps on the back and go back to whatever meaningless subject my friend and I were discussing. This happens, I kid you not, at least ten times, in succession. At this point, Nick’s face has that twisted, horrified look that all non-parents get when they begin to realize that all those fanciful dreams of having children someday are insane. He keeps looking back and forth, his eyes darting from small creature attempting suicide to tranquil mother attempting to have her talk. Something I desperately search for, because adult conversations are so rare when you are this outnumbered. We’re at three to one —a child to parent ratio that should never exist for one’s sanity. And so, you graciously hold onto any grown-up conversation you can get. Even as the youngest of your offspring is doing his best to off himself. Actively trying to end his short life before he has even enjoyed the breaths of it. Breaths of which he is liberally taking underwater. It’s moments such as these that I cease wondering why there isn’t some sort of screening process, some type of licensing procedure before a person is allowed to procreate. Because honestly, who would pass? Only the off kilter have what it takes for this undertaking. Only the beautifully ill-informed willing march towards this, the most thankless of jobs. So here’s to you, sweatpants-clad wonder woman. To successfully thwarting yet another endeavor made by our tiny tyrants to kill themselves. And more impressive still, for not taking care of the deed for them.