Dylan sometimes (okay, often) says to me, “Mommy, you need to have more patience in the bathroom.” He’s right. The bathroom is the scene of some of my worst parenting moments (that is, besides the car). Simply put, the bathroom is my tipping point. They either take too long, talk too loud, touch everything, or all of the above, and, frankly, it’s excruciating.
Recently, in the middle of a friendly debate with him over my “alleged” swimming skills, I said, “I do too know how to dive!” His response was swift and startlingly clever. “Mommy, you don’t even like to get your hair wet.” He was right again. For the record, I do know how to dive, although I can’t remember the last time I did.
He’s almost eight, and he knows me.
One night not too long ago in the bathroom, Riley said to me, “Mommy, did you have coffee today?”
“Yes,” I said confused because it was nighttime and I drink coffee in the morning. “Why?”
“Because you’re grumpy, and you always tell us you get grumpy when you can’t have coffee.”
I was grumpy that night in the bathroom, but in my defense: (1) it was way past bedtime, (2) tooth brushing wasn’t going very well, (3) we were in the bathroom, and (4) I had just discovered that the puppy pooped on the floor in my bedroom.
Still, he was right. He’s only five, but he knows me, too.
Although the coffee remark stopped me in my tracks, it wasn’t because it made me feel guilty (okay, maybe a little bit). Rather, it was because it brought on a terrifying vision of a teenaged version of Riley rolling his eyes at me and saying, “Mom, are you on your period or something?” It’s true that I almost always cry 48-72 hours before I get it, so it’s quite possible that he and his brother will eventually know the ins and outs of my menstrual cycle as well as they know that I’m irritable when I haven’t had coffee and/or it’s after 7pm and/or I’m in a bathroom with either one of them.
They already know me quite a bit. They know I like owls and yellow roses and “So You Think You Can Dance.” They know I like to run and write stories about being a mommy. They know I pour a glass of wine when it’s five o’clock or time for math homework (whichever comes first). They know I don’t like loud voices or music in the car and it hurts my ears when the car windows are open. They know I don’t like to get my hair wet in the pool, idle in public bathrooms, or buy toy-junk at the grocery store. They know I can’t stand puzzles or Lego kits with missing pieces. They know I absolutely hate to be late. They probably know I’m particular (i.e. obsessive compulsive) about loading the dishwasher, I can’t stand it if someone pulls on my shirt or sweater, and no matter how hard I try, I have zero interest in video games. They most likely know when I’m aggravated at their Daddy, when I’ve had one glass of wine too many, and when I feel fat. Perhaps they know when I’m sad. They most certainly know when I’m proud or happy, but also when I’m disappointed, anxious, or scared.
They’re getting to know all of me. Not just the mommy me but the human me. They’re soaking in my quirks and imperfections as we grow this extraordinary and complicated relationship together, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it, but I guess it’s only fair, because, oh boy, I know them, too.