After seeing my last post and reading that I took my kids hiking, a lovely lady left a comment to tell me that I’m “the coolest Mom ever”. Apparently, I need to set the record straight.
I am not a cool Mom. I don’t even really like kids. I mean, I love my own…and thank goodness I love their friends. For now anyway, they are all well-behaved, kind, and clean.
I think my lack of coolness around little ones started when I began babysitting at the age of thirteen. I took a Red Cross class, I took CPR, and I checked out How-To books on managing children from the local library. I was excited. I was ready!
My first job was to babysit my three year old cousin. It was shortly after Halloween, and before I arrived, this sweet little girl had ingested a mountain of Smarties. As I was helping her brush her teeth before bed she said, “I think I need to get to the toileURGH”, at which point a massive amount of vomit poured out of her and all over the floor. We were two feet away from the sink and just inches from the toilet, but she didn’t make it to either of them.
So I did what any babysitter would do. I called my Mommy.
While I heard my Mom gagging upstairs as she threw puke covered paper towels into a trash can, I watched my cousin’s dog lick regurgitated Smarties off her pajamas. Then I sat on the steps, cried, and I thought about how I would never, ever watch kids again. I would just look at them from a distance.
Just a few months later, my Mom was babysitting my nephew when he threw up at various places throughout our house. What is it with the vomiting?! The next time I was forced into watching him, I ended up walking him in circles around our neighborhood for hours…in the 40 degree chill…just so that if he spewed, I wouldn’t have to clean it up.
For a germophobe like me, runny noses, dirty fingers, boogers, poo…and vomit…are sometimes too much to handle. Throw in some back-talk and bad manners from kids you don’t know well enough to punish, and watch Momo run longingly to the nearest tall person for some adult company.
But, I did take my kids hiking. And, wouldn’t you know that as we were eating our picnic lunch, my six year old son choked on his sandwich and threw up. At least we were outside…no clean-up required.
See? I’m only cool when it’s convenient.
Our family took a road trip today and enjoyed a five mile hike through Ohio’s beautiful Hocking Hills.
And, there was climbing…
Did I mention there was climbing?
Our five mile hike took us four hours.
When we got home I made an attempt to be funny and asked, “So, does anybody want to go for a walk?”
And, my nine year old daughter made me wish they could sell her pep-in-a-bottle, when she said, “I do!!”
When I was eight years old, on an early June afternoon, another eight year old girl who lived a few miles from me was abducted on her way home from school. She was found murdered in a culvert just blocks from her house.
I remember my Mom watching me walk to school the next morning, which she had never done before. I could sense her fear. It was the first time I can recall really being scared.
Shortly after this incident, I had a nightmare that the girl’s killer was in my room. I dreamed that he was hiding behind my bedroom door and I was facing certain death. The murder was never solved, so I have no idea what the killer looked like. But in that nightmare, my eight year old mind had a detailed image. The murderer was Mr. Clean.
In my dream, I slowly pulled the door back to reveal him standing there with a broom. Mr. Clean was sweeping my floor. It took many years before I could buy any of his products. But, those Magic Erasers? Well, they make my heart skip a beat.
My point is that even rational fears can sometimes turn irrational.
Some friends of ours are having a hard time with their daughter. She is suddenly terrified of tornados. Rational? Yes.
When she sees a random gray cloud in the sky, she begins to freak out. Rational? No.
I used to housesit for a neighbor when I was young and they had a cat that would greet me by standing on its hind legs while hissing and baring its teeth. From that experience, I grew to be truly scared of cats. Rational? Yes.
When a friend’s cat comes purring and rubbing against my legs, it might as well be a boa constrictor. Rational? No.
I even know a grown man with a true fear of clowns.
I know we’re not alone. There must be at least one person out there who is scared of Aunt Jemima or who cowers at the sight of cheerleaders. I want to make our friends feel better about what’s going on with their daughter. So boys and girls…what’s your irrational fear?