One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, hit the nail on the head when talking about children and their one-track minds. He joked about how he and his wife were nonchalantly talking about ice cream and his child screamed “CHOCOLATE!” for the remainder of their road trip. Despite their desperate pleas, the child never stopped.
This is what it’s like having a toddler.
I don’t know if this is something new for us Millennial Parents, because my mom seems to have completely gone off the tracks when dealing with my sons leech-like mind. For example, we took a trip to the zoo recently. Boy were we excited! After an an entire morning packing, a half-hour drive and a good 20 minutes getting us out of the vehicle, we arrived! My mom, my 3-year-old son, one-year-old daughter and I grabbed our tickets and headed in, right past the gift shop.
“PRIZES!” My son exclaimed at unnerving volumes.
I began my spiel of, “Oh now, nice! Aren’t those pretty? Look! I think that LION KNOWS HOW TO TALK!” In a 100% effective way to distract him from the fluorescent monkeys.
My mother, however, apparently had a stroke on the trip over and blurted, “I will get you one of those prizes on the way back, my dear, sweet baby angel!”
I whipped my head around in hopes my son was (temporarily!) missing and did not hear my mother’s pirate mouth. No such luck.
From that moment forward, no matter how many white lies I told about the animals abilities to talk/walk/play poker at night, my son was over it.
“Yeah, I’ve seen enough animals. Time for a prize!” He said after merely passing a chipmunk on the way to the first animal exhibit.
That was it. That’s all we heard. Every step we took further away from the gift shop, the more my son hated animals for even existing. So, the trip lasted a quick lap around the zoo and my son raced into the gift shop. My mom then proceeded to tell my children they could have anything they wanted because, Lord knows we should give the little hustler the Taj Mahal. After careful, intricate, meticulous, hair-pulling deliberation, my son chose a pen. That was his prize. My daughter “picked” a monkey (she’s 1, let’s face it, I handed it to her and it was the best thing that ever happened to her) and my son could have had anything in the store and he picked a pen. Priorities.
So, after the zoo trip, I have been coaching friends and family not to speak of anything children might even fathom to enjoy unless you have it in your pocket and don’t ever want to see it again. Things have been moving smoothly, until today.
You see, I just got myself a double stroller and my husband has been taking our car to work. That means: anywhere we want to go is by foot with me pushing 60 pounds of toddler through 85 degree weather. Today, we had to drop some paperwork off at the insurance office. It was only a little over a mile away, but it’s hot, my kids and squirrely and I’m fat. By the time we got there, I was red as a plum, we were all out of water and I had to shit. In other words, we were done.
The receptionist decided she wanted to strike up a conversation, however. She was: talking to the kids, advising me on putting some more sunscreen on myself due to the fact that I looked like I was melting and then asked if we WERE HEADED TO THE PARK NEXT.
Instantly, I had visions of taking her padded headband and shoving it down her throat. But, there were too many witnesses.
My son instantly shot up, “YEAH!!!! The park!!! Let’s GO!!!!!!”
Mind you, the park is three miles away and I’m nearing cardiac arrest. So, don’t judge me for not schlepping us across town.
After shooting the deepest death glare I could muster at Little-Miss-Parky-Pants, we left. I tried so hard to change the subject. So fucking hard.
I pointed at a seagull, “Hey buddy! Look! It’s an eagle!”
“Cool mom! Maybe he wants to come to the park with us?”
Next attempt, “Aren’t you getting thirsty? I bet you can’t wait to get home to have some SODA! What a treat!”
“No thanks, Mom. I will be thirsty at the park!”
Again, “Don’t you want to wash down that soda with some ICE CREAM! You can have Mom’s special ice cream she hides in the ice maker for after you go to bed!”
“Hmmmm, maybe later, Mom. We gotta go to the PARK!”
Finally, I shot it to him straight, “OK, Mom didn’t want to tell the lady at the office this, but the park is closed today. We can’t go there! But we can go tomorrow and you can tell DAD all about it when he gets home from work?”
“OK!!!! Now, let’s go have soda and ice cream all day!!!!”
So, now I have to deal with the guilt of: not killing myself trying to get them to the park, LYING to a CHILD, and the fact that my husband will have to hear about the park for an entire two hours tonight when he gets home.
Looks like tomorrow I’m getting a workout.