Any lady who has seamlessly slipped a tiny human out of her vagina (TA DAH!) can attest to the fact that once The Internal Baby becomes The External Baby it can be a touch more difficult to find room in one’s day for adequate amounts of My Time.
Contrary to what countless misguided “parenting books” would have you believe the fact is that there are only two fixes for this dilemma: 1.) throw money at the problem or 2.) education. Anyone who knows me well can confirm that I will rarely resort to a reliance on filthy lucre - no, I have always been a fashionably steadfast advocate of education. The children are our future.
In keeping with the strength of my convictions, once judgmental nanny had cleared out for the day, I determined that it was time to teach Penelope to drive. The situation had become absurd; ever since giving birth to her 17-months prior I had been chauffeuring HER around! The irony was two-fold: she HATES her carseat and being driven about was previously a much-beloved form of MY TIME. Yes, by teaching Penelope the ways of the open road I would be shoring up countless future hours of My Time.
With a mischievous wink I tucked her car keys (what fun I’d just given her her first car!) into the pocket of her onesie and within a heartbeat there we were, she poised for action in the driver’s seat and I, feet up, reclined in the passenger position! Imagine my angst when I saw how far her feet dangled from the pedals. In fact she had to stand on the seat just to peer over the steering wheel.
“God DAMN it!” But no, I am a mother, so I did not curse nor did I break into the uncontrolled tears of Dreams Dashed. “1-2-3 Rainbow RELAX!” and Rainbow Relaxed I was. Instantly. The Rainbow gave me the clarity to see that although I might still need to man the pedals this needn’t necessarily infringe on My Time; both of my hands would still remain free for beverage-holding.
But from the moment we hit the road Penelope showed absolutely no self-discipline – not only would she not keep her eyes on the road but her right hand was constantly fiddling with the radio! She wanted to play the WORST music at a constantly shifting volume. “The road, the ROAD KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD YOU’RE GOING TO WIND US UP DEAD IN A DITCH THERE’S THE DITCH TURN THE WHEEL TURN THE WHEEEEEEL!!!!!!!” Pen started to turn the wheel but too late and by the time I hit the brakes there we were, already half in a ditch. It occurred to me that Penelope had zero regard for the value of her sporty-yet-wildly-oversized SUV. “Kevin and I have spoiled her, we’ve given her too much, too early,” I reflected.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with these less-than-poised mother-daughter moments, there was a power-walking neighbor on hand to witness the scene. Stare hard retard. The plebian wisely chose to keep on a-walkin’ although he didn’t refrain from shooting a couple of incredulous glances our way. Revolutionary mothers are often misunderstood and I began to worry that whispers of this incident might eventually tickle the ear of the Neighborhood Committee.
Having safely seen this busy body off I, ever nimble as a sprite, sprung from our vehicle the better to assess the situation. The American-make SUV was now stalled at a rather daring angle which unceremoniously caused the driver-side door to in fact hit my ass as it slammed shut on my way out. Unfortunately it was at this very moment that Penelope turned the full force of her Toddler Attention on the car keys and, with one decisive thumb stroke, locked all the doors.
Rainbow Relax. “Look at mama Penelope, push the UNLOCK BUTTON, the UNLOCK BUTTON Penelope…” Penelope was indeed looking at mama with slight concern but her stubborn thumb refused to shift from the lock to the unlock button. She locked, locked, and relocked the doors as I, in order to convey a sense of calm to my offspring, continued to Rainbow Relax like a fiend. For good measure I tossed in my WASP-on-campaign-trail smile. Penelope seemed to buy my campaign promises until fate guided that tiny thumb to the Panic button. With the car alarm now in full swing her jaw began to slacken and eyes fill; Watergate was fast encroaching and I could sense that My Time was just as quickly slipping away. Far away.
But then my phone sounds! TRIUMPH, my CELL PHONE, why didn’t I think of it earlier, WE’RE SAVED…oh look…my cell phone is ALSO locked in the car… Penelope drops the keys (and thus any hope that her thumb might deactivate the car alarm) and seizes upon the phone. Through the window I can dimly make out a text message from Kevin: “Home in 30.”
This ladies, perfectly illustrates yet another strike against securing Revolutionary Mommy My Time: selfish daddy insists on going to work as often as daily in order to “make the money that we need to live.”
“SLIDE THAT LITTLE ARROW THING TO THE RIGHT BABY COMMON BABY JUST PUT YOUR LITTLE FINGER ON THE ARROW AND SLIDE IT TO THE RIGHT AND THEN HOLD THE PHONE UP TO THE WINDOW SO THAT MOMMY CAN SCREAM INTO IT…”
I begin to worry that perhaps I won’t be a shoe-in for The Mother Of The Year Award after all, indeed images of Britney Spears driving with countless babies seated on her lap begin to flash through my head and before I can use my WASP powers to suppress these images I begin to make troublesome comparisons between Spears and The Self, and I think I might faint.
Penelope hits the Unlock button, a monkey infinitely typing in outer space finishes the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and I realize that what I’ve just experienced while grappling outside the car was in fact an invigorating session of Revolutionary Mommy My Time!