When you are the parent of a two year old, you know that your life is always seconds away from either comedy or tragedy. And although I am always cautiously optimistic that I will face the former, and not the latter, I am continuously realistic that each day will likely be peppered with both.
Now I use the word “tragedy” very loosely. I don’t mean tragedy in the sense that my child gets hit by a car, breaks an arm, chokes on a grape, etc. on a daily basis. But there is always some form of drama that fills a day in the life of a toddler and his mother. The day started out pretty normal: We went to the local playground to meet up with a friend for a play date. Just a few minutes after arriving, I look up to find my son and another boy struggling on the steps of the playground structure. “No!!!” I hear my son yelling, as he’s pushing his butt into the boy behind him, who is trying to go up the stairs. It seemed that the boy was trying to push his way past, and my son was not yet ready to ascend those four little stairs. I start approaching the two to help them sort it out, when the boy’s nanny comes charging over, yelling at my son. “No, you do not push him!!” she yells indignantly. “It’s ok, honey”, she says as she turns to the boy in her care. “Excuse me??” I said. “I can handle my own son, thank you very much.” She completely ignores me. I walk away. Shocked. Who does that??
It’s kind of an unwritten parenting rule that you don’t discipline someone else’s child, unless of course they’re causing irreparable physical harm to your child. But even then the parent of the child you’re disciplining would have to be clearly absent from the situation. And I was standing right there. Do they not teach that social idiosyncrasy to those in the nannying world? I was so angry. I would never do that to someone else’s child. The nerve!
We then went to lunch with our play date. Dining out with your children is just tragedy waiting to happen. I wasn’t planning on going out to eat, so I had literally nothing with me to entertain my seven month old. So she’s sitting on my lap, grabbing at forks, knives, really anything that she can poke an eye out or maim herself with. My son is spilling water on the floor, dropping crayons, getting off his chair, crawling under the table, banging his head while trying to emerge from under the table – you get the idea. “Why did we do this again?” we said to each other. I felt like stress was emanating from every pore of my body. I was a woman on the brink.
Finally, we get home, and I breath a sigh of relief. Only 20 more minutes before I have both the kids napping. I can hardly wait. As my son follows me to his room to get dressed for bed he says earnestly, “Mommy, can we put Ella to sleep in your belly and go back to the beach?” “What??” I say. “What do you mean, honey?” So he asks again, “Can we put Ella in your belly and go back to the beach? You know, the beach with Daddy?” I say, “What beach do you mean, Jack?” “The beach in the picture”, he says, and he grabs my hand pulling me out into our hallway. Hanging there is a photograph I took of Jack and my husband exactly a year ago, when we went to Fire Island. I was four months pregnant with my daughter at the time. I could not control my laughter. “Oh, I love you so much”, I said. And there you have it. Tragedy followed by comedy.
Which if you think about it, it’s really so much better than the reverse. I always prefer to have a comedy pot of gold to look forward to at the end of my rainbow of tragedy, rather than start the day out with the comedy, only knowing that you are just a crappy nanny away from the inevitable.
Of course my son didn’t nap that day, and proceeded to wake up my daughter with his incessant yelling. And all that boiled down to mommy not getting any down time. And that, at least in my opinion, was the biggest tragedy of all.