Wherein I Say I’m Sorry

Posted: August 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Discoveries, Eating Out, Friends and Strangers, Kindergarten, Misc Neuroses, Miss Kate, Other Mothers, Parenting, Sisters | 2 Comments »

Okay, okay, I confess. Before we had kids, invitations we got for dinners at friends’ houses that started at 5:30 horrified me. At 5:30 on a weekend I was usually still napping on the couch. Or at a matinee. Or hell, doing something else kidless folks do, like having sex or reading a book.

On weekdays at 5:30 I was just hitting my stride at the office.

The time was unthinkably early. So much so, I thought, as to be rude. (This from the woman who got married on a Sunday night.) How could they ask us to accommodate such an untenable hour?

Yet I felt slightly disorientated when I offered to make dinner reservations for a group of friends I was going out with in Rhode Island this summer. I was at a loss for an appropriate grown-up meal time. In five short years I’ve apparently forgotten that there’s any other time for dinner than, well, 6:00. (I still cling—just barely—to the notion that 5:30 is unthinkable.)

But even now that the shoe is on the other foot, I’ve managed to somehow maintain the irrational attitude that people unlike me should still anticipate my needs.

A few weeks ago, while lunching at the glamorous California Pizza Kitchen, our waitress approached our booth, propped a picture-packed dessert menu in front of the girls and cooed, “Can I tempt you with something?” Then ran off.

Galled, Mark and I looked at each other with the Tori Spelling nostril-flare of disgusted disbelief. He snatched up the menuĀ  before the girls could feast their eyes. And weirdly, it worked. It all happened faster than they had time to process. Yet we braced for whining, pleading, and mortifying kicking thrashing tantrums.

Why doesn’t that 19-year-old waitress know that the way to offer us something should have been, “Can I interest anyone in some D-E-S-S-E-R-T?”

Puhleez. Was she raised on Mars?

Yesterday there were a couple events for Kate’s kindergarten. Things to get the kids comfy in their classrooms before school starts next week. I had no doubt Kater Tot would have fun, but I was dreading my own reaction to the day. What if I hated everyone?

In my sister’s kitchen a couple weeks ago, I revealed this.

“You know, I realized,” she said, dunking a tea bag in a mug, “that in any new group situation I immediately decide that I don’t like anyone.”

Now this is why I don’t pay for therapy. What she described is utterly and entirely what I do too. It rocks being able to draft off her self-revelations.

‘But then,” she went on, “After I get to know them a little more, I’m totally fine. I always find people I like.”

Uh, BINGO! That’d be me you are talking about.

So, with Big Sister’s words o’ wisdom in mind, I set my expectations accordingly. At the end of the day I wouldn’t be performing any blood-swapping sisterhood rituals with the other Room 2 moms. But that would be OKAY. Plenty of time to get to know and not-hate each other in the course of the school year.

But then of course, just to ruin my plans, I ended up really liking some of the people I met.

One of the mothers, wearing hip black boots (not black hip boots, mind you), started talking about a form we’d had to fill out for the school. There were four Mamas, sitting around a low kidney-shaped table in plastic kiddie chairs. “You know the question ‘Does your child have any fears or concerns that the teachers should be aware of?’” she asked.

Nods all around, and some anticipatory leaning forward.

“Well,” she stammered, a little embarrassed, “It sounds kind of weird but Jamie has this thing about being trapped in places.”

“Huh,” I offered. “Sounds like a perfectly reasonable fear.”

“So we were at Home Depot, and you know they have those big metal warehouse doors?”

Nods, nods.

“He started getting all panicky that they might suddenly close the store, and they wouldn’t know we were inside, and we’d be trapped.”

Encouraging ‘oohs’ from around the wee table.

“So I go up to this woman who works there and say, ‘What would happen if you were to close the store when we were still here?’ And she looks at Jamie and gets her fingers all wiggly in his face and says, ‘Well those big doors would bang shut! And you’d be trapped in here! And it would be dark and cold, and you’d have to wait until the morning when we open again to get out!’”

The three of us Listening Mamas banged our palms on the table and hollered, “No she DID NOT!” and “You are KIDDING me.” We were ready, in our NorCal way, to band together, get the word out, and ban shopping at Home Deport forever.

“Yeah, so poor Jamie was, like, set back about six months on this issue,” Hip Boot Mama says.

And I’m all, “Yeah you should forward the therapy bills to that woman.”

The thing is, how many times with my often-inappropriate snarky sensibilities have I done something just as bad? As a Mama, now that I’m on the receiving end of the idle thoughtlessness of strangers, I’m appalled by it all.

What is wrong with you people?! Can’t you see we’re trying to raise non-psycho children? Who will buy us large homes and luxury vehicles when we’re old and enfeebled and they’ve struck it rich?

Can’t you tell we don’t get to take afternoon naps any more? And we really really miss them.

Anyway, it’s likely too late, but for all those kids who I might have tempted with inaccessible sweets or unwittingly traumatized in other ways, I’d just like to say for the record that I’m really. Very. Sorry.


2 Comments on “Wherein I Say I’m Sorry”

  1. 1 Mary said at 10:43 pm on August 28th, 2010:

    Faa-REAKing hysterical. We need to hang out more, this is killing me. So many gems in there…

  2. 2 kristen said at 7:17 am on August 29th, 2010:

    um, duh! are you just now catching on to the fact that my blog exists just so you’ll hang out with me, mary?

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