My Kids Donâ€™t Trust My Authority
Sometimes I feel as if I just can’t win. When I’m with my own parents, I’m a 40-year-old kid, inexperienced, unwise and not to be trusted. I help my mom in the kitchen and she critiques my chopping skills. I offer to give my dad a lift and he refuses to let me get behind the wheel. And god forbid I suggest a different route for getting to Point B. Even if it halves our driving time, I’m reminded that father knows best.
Well if thatâ€™s the truth for mothers as well, my kids haven’t got the memo. Because far from being gospel, my word these days is worth less than a Chupa Chup lollipop dropped in a sandbox. Though I’m likely not the first mother to be taken for granted while her partner gets all the glory, it still stings when a bulb burns out and I’m told (by my 3-year-old, no less) that I’d better wait for Daddy to come home, because only he can wizard a new one in place. Apparently the punchline to “How many mothers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” is “None.”
Once upon a time a mother could cure all that ails her baby with a kiss and a kind word. But when my daughter started waking in the night complaining of aching legs, no amount of reassurance from me (nor the kiddie Tylenol I slipped her) would ease her pain. The waking went on for weeks, until I dragged her along to my doctor and gave him her spiel. He shrugged and told us â€“ as I had a dozen times before â€“ that it was nothing serious, probably just growing pains. She hasnâ€™t woken since.
Then, last week, my daughterâ€™s impish playmate convinced herself, along with my daughter, that there was a pirate hiding in the house. For two hours they cowered by my side, refusing to let me out of their sight, even when nature called â€“ even after I swore up and down they were safe, the house was in lockdown and that no pirates were ever known to case our quaint little north London community. They wouldnâ€™t listen, and I couldnâ€™t shake them off my leg. Until my husband came home and with a single raised eyebrow it was over.
Even our sitter has more clout than me. I can talk up a new toy better than a Sunday-morning ad and it will sit in a corner untouched. Only once the sitter has christened it can it be deemed acceptable.
Am I that deeply uncool? Or am I so ubiquitous in their lives that they see right through me? Either way, I think toddlerhood is a bit young to lose faith in your dear old mum.
I certainly never imagined there would come a day my speech would start to resemble the adults in those old animated Charlie Brown features: Wah waaah wuh wah wah waaaaah. Alas, itâ€™s come to that.