November 7, 2011

Guest Post: My Perfect Alibi

Today's guest post comes courtesy of Michelle at Miss Banana Pants. I swear, everything she writes has me cracking up! Thanks, Michelle, for bringing some levity to the blog in my absence!
One of the unforeseen perks of this motherhood gig is the ability to deflect all gross and unladylike behavior. I revel in these magical days when my kid cannot verbally defend himself. Those days are slowly but surely coming to a close as his vocabulary grows every single day. What follows, however, is an account of how one mom, in all her poopy, dirty, tardy glory, can blame any and every unflattering and smelly occurrences on a pint-sized mute.

I remember a phone call with my mother not too many months ago. My youngest son had awoken that morning with a serious case of the Everything Is Wrong With This World-itis. I complained to my all-knowing mother of just how hard it is to have this little man who’s mad and cannot tell you why he’s mad because he’s just a very mad, very nonverbal toddler. The Waaaaaa’s and Why Me’s of the conversation were implied and very much understood by the high-pitched, whiny tone of my voice. Having braved this storm not once but three times before, she laughed and told me that things could always get worse. Because mothers are all about the encouragement. So I wandered through a few weeks with a newly opinionated yet still babbling ManChild. He had things to say, angry, vengeful things, and no way to just TELL ME WHY YOU ARE RED IN THE FACE.

One afternoon we stopped by a home goods store. With the frustrated and silent tot strapped into the cart, we edged and poked our way through tight aisles of candles and bed sheets. During one most difficult corner turn, I twisted to my side to fit through the heaps of clearance items. I tugged at the cart with the universal maternal touch, the gentle manhandling, to squeeze it through the narrow path. And then it happened. Filling the air with pungent icky-ness and my little heart with hope.

I farted.

What would typically have been a humiliating and all around disgusting experience was solved by the very problem of which I constantly complained. There was this boy, this little toddler boy, right there in my cart. This little toddler boy who cannot deny my white lies and who is permitted by codes of social decency to crap his pants. In a bowel-jerk reaction, I too loudly declared “Oh, honey. Somebody must have a stinky diaper. Shooey Gross!”. There was a dazzling display of wheeling my “smelly” baby to a bathroom. To thoroughly cover up mom’s toot, he endured a step-by-step commentary on the diaper-changing process in the back stall of a packed ladies room. Extra confusing was the fact that he was not getting his diaper changed. Perched on the plastic table, the little man was told to hush and go along with it. Just let me act like you pooped, dangit.

In following days, the idea that my child could take the blame for mommy’s poor gas control changed my perception of what it meant to have a baby who cannot speak. The possibilities were endless after such an enlightenment.

BURPING: He must’ve had too much organic fruit this morning.

SHOWERING: I was planning on washing my hair. I really was. But then there was this baby who needed to eat and sleep and such and I just couldn’t pry myself away from precious playtime to brush my teeth. It was in the name of love, if you think about it.

Lingering Poop Smell: Dad returns home from work. He makes his way to the closet which just so happens to be connected to the Master Bath to change his clothes. Five seconds after entering, he runs wildly from the toxic toilet, unsure if someone has died or if there is a hidden septic tank we didn’t know about. There is a simple explanation, really. Baby had a wretched, dirty, nasty diaper. When asked why the baby’s load was not changed in the confines of his room with a changing table and diapers and Febreze and whatnot, I quickly announce that I was scared his gentle nose couldn’t handle the lingering fumes. Dad gives Mom a doubtful glare to which she immediately changes the topic so that Dad will forget the stinky mess. Ten minutes and two accusations of men not appreciating stay-at-home mothers later, and poop is the last thing on his mind.

Gaseous Gas: See Diarrhea.

Weight: While getting my roots highlighted, the hairstylist points out that I have finally had the baby. I take a moment to weigh my options. I can tell her that my newborn is actually a two-year-old, or I can play along that I have just given birth and that this Muffin Top is the child’s fault and not, well, the result of too many muffins. Faux Baby Fat it is, and I leave with lovely locks and many, many well wishes for the new mom.

Time Management: Never in the history of calendars has there been such a brilliant excuse for failing at time. Be they appointments, deadlines, or errands, all must-do plans can quickly become eh-I-didn’t-feel-like-it dates without the crushing guilt associated with simply bailing. You know it's true.

-I wanted to go to the store/doctor/dog groomer/Zumba class today. I really did. But Lil Man was acting like his nose might possibly get snotty at some point soon. It isn’t snotty yet but I have that mother’s intuition thing going for me, and I can tell you it will probably be snotty and definitely be contagious.

- I wanted to go to the store/doctor/dog groomer/Zumba class today. I really did. But Lil Man just lit my house on fire and we are going to have cleanup and insurance mess to handle. What’s that? You’re in the driveway and my house looks hardly scorched? It was the back room, you see. The back room, yes. You shouldn’t come in here. You know, black lungs and all that.

Cleaning: A toddler makes the perfect scapegoat for a disheveled house. On occasion, late afternoon will roll around. My Cleaning Day having experienced no cleaning at all, is a wreck. Dad arrives home from work to a house that smells almost clean but looks wholly filthy. I spritzed the air with various cleaning products, swiped some dirt from the floors across my shirt, and feigned exhaustion. Do you know how hard it is to clean, and mop, and clean all day, only to have a child that instantly dirties the place up? {Particularly effective in receiving pity for work and hardship you actually did not have to experience. Complimentary foot rubs and dish-cleaning from husbands hopefully included.}

It is these months most mothers dread, with children old enough to announce their displeasure but undeveloped enough to not tell you the what and why’s, that I am finding my greatest joy. The boy can walk, play, and laugh just as swiftly as he cries and screams and throws the most breakable items. But he keeps my secrets, my dirty, awful secrets. He does his mom a favor, even if totally against his will.

*By the way, this post (packed to the brim with “overshare”)is auto-set to explode upon Lil Man’s 14th birthday. Just know son, that you did poot/poop/destroy/get snotty, Child. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
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