My Mom Had Eyes in the Back of Her Head. I Can See Through Walls.

>> Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today (the real today, September 1st) is my anniversary. Eight years ago today, on a surprisingly pleasant and weather-mild day in the mid-atlantic, Darling Husband and I got married. Five years, nine months, and thirteen days later, I received my "Mom" card and promptly got initiated into the Mystery of Omniscience.

What do I mean? I mean the first rule of raising small children is to make them think you can see things when you can't. Somehow, my Mom was pretty good at knowing when I was doing something wrong, even when she wasn't looking. She used to say that she had eyes in the back of her head. I never quite figured out how she was doing it, but as I grew up, it became apparent to me that I was no where near as clever as I thought I was. I knew she didn't have eyes in the back of her head, but this mysterious omniscience she had made me toe the line even when she wasn't around.

Now, I have to admit, I've known the rules -- act confident, show no fear, follow through with your threats, and whatever you do, don't laugh. I have to confess, I have had the hardest time with the last one. Let me share a story.

About four months ago, we had some visitors in the house bringing us some paperwork to sign. Toddler was supposed to be napping, and we had the monitor on listening to him. Napping he was not. For the entire time the guests were there, he was chattering away to himself in his crib. Shortly before the folks were leaving, they asked if they could see Toddler (given that he was so obviously awake). We brought him down and asked him to say "Hi." He waived. We asked him to say, "I was upstairs playing." He looked at me and said, "Sleeping." I suppressed a chuckle. "No, tell them you were playing." He looked at me again, with a big, big grin, and said, "Sleeping." By this point, I was really struggling not to laugh. This was too much. He wasn't even two years old at that point, and here he was, lying to me! After a few more seconds, he gave me a sheepish grin and said, "Playing."

Now, I ask you -- how do you not laugh? How, exactly?

I've been struggling with abiding by the rules and giving Toddler the gift of thinking his mother is omniscient. Honestly, it has been harder than I thought. I recently convinced Toddler that I can see through walls, I've been working on it for awhile, but I finally got him good and believing it now. We put a stop to most of the drive-by toddlerings, but now Toddler has decided that there is no reason to necessarily stay in the bed per se. The bedroom is close enough, right? Unfortunately, with his door closed, my first clue that he is out of bed is usually when he tries to open the door, when he opens the diaper stacker and begins throwing things on the floor, or when he starts pulling the books of his bookshelf. I yell, he cries and runs back to bed. Still, so far it hasn't been enough to convince him not to even try. He's just been testing to see how long he can go before I interrupt his fun. It's all a big game.

The past couple of days I had enough. I was tired of dealing with the "napless wonder" and tired of running up the stairs to put him back in his bed. I decided that I was going to convince Toddler I could see him get out of bed, and that he'd better stay put. So, after putting him back for what felt like the 100th time in 20 minutes, I shut the door, pretended to walk away, and lay down on the floor. I was going to watch his little feet through the crack underneath the door. Problem: The carpet we bought for the house is a little too plush. Either that, or the wood floor in the hallway is a little too low. Either way, I really couldn't seen too well beyond the first 2 inches. I twisted and turned my head, and finally found a position that worked, lying flat on my stomach, with my top eye covered, and my bottom eye turned partially toward the floor. With the right amount of pressure on my eyeball, I could see just far enough to get a blurry view of Toddler's bed. Sure enough, after only a few moments of this (very comfortable) position, I saw little feet start to sneak down from the comforter. As soon as they touched the floor, I yelled at Toddler to get back into bed. You should have heard his answering cry! What a wail of protest! I'm not sure which was more important, that he wasn't allowed out of bed, or that he had been caught? Either way, he cried for a few good solid minutes before finally, blissfully, falling asleep.

I promptly retrieved my eyeball from the floor and went on my merry way, satisfied that I had at last achieved the pinnacle of motherhood. My mom had eyes in the back of her head, but I can see through walls. And it didn't hurt all that much, either.


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