October 18, 2006

Ticking Timebomb

I flew home from Utah on Sunday with my husband and toddler. The entire plane ride consisted of Pixie screaming and squirming and me resisting the urge to whip out the bomb I had hidden in my carry-on toothpaste. Instead, I pulled my usual grim face and clenched jaw the entire flight. As the flight was waiting to deplane, a sweet old lady worked her way down the isle to offer a kind word. "Don't get frustrated, she's a beautiful little girl," she said tenderly.

To these gracious words I snapped, "Thanks, I'll feel better in 20 years."

I immediately felt bad about scorning her kind words, but honestly, what else could I have said? She was just flat out wrong. Beauty had nothing to do with anything. But if I had been a good liar like she wanted I would have said:

You're right. An ugly crying baby is a living nightmare but a pretty one is sheer delight.


I was wrong to get frustrated. No good pregnant mother should ever care about being kicked in the bladder for two hours.


Your kind words have erased all the mental damage that this plane ride of hell has inflicted. Teach me the ways of peace, gracious master.

But honestly, I'm sick of people telling me not to get frustrated. Especially when they offer no physical help. If someone offers to watch my kid for the afternoon, I'm all grace and thanks. But most women just spew empty words like, "Try to enjoy it! They are only young for a little while."

Which I interpret to mean, "trust me, honey, it gets worse."

Pixie is a ticking time bomb. Growing up with 6 sisters, there was a point where 5 of us girls were between the ages of 12 and 18 and we all made a point to make our mom cry as frequently as possible. I know this tendency is in Pixie somewhere. The black hate that lies dormant waiting for that special day in her teens when she realizes that emotional battery is much more painful than physical. I don't blame her - it's inevitable.

When I was barely 12, I watched my older sisters tear my mom to shreds. I came to her conspiratorially one night and assured her that I wouldn't be a terrible teen and would always love her. Then 2 weeks after my 14th birthday, I felt strange feelings of angst and rebellion welling up despite my best intentions. I didn't want it to happen and fought against it as best as possible but resistance was futile. I was a teenager.

One particularly low moment was when I was 15. My dad was out of town and Mom was laid up in bed with a freshly broken ankle. She needed a lot of help and could hardly get out of bed. I remember going to her room, looking at her lying in her bed with glee and skipping out of the house to enjoy my week of freedom with my boyfriend. I didn't go near her room all week.

So unfortunately, I have it coming with Pixie. But hopefully in 20 years I will have forgotten all about it like most mothers seem to. And someday my memory of past tortures will be so fleabitten that I'll be the one offering moronic advice to strangers on airplanes. Some cycles just can't be broken.


A Payne said...

I'm a Mormon that believes in karma. I have it coming too. I was an ingrate.

A Payne said...

...still am.

AngelaM said...

Awe, the old lady was just trying to make up for the glares from intolerant passengers! No one should be that pleasant after flight, though.

Beauty. I met a co-workers kids the other day and later told him how cute they were. He said, "They are smart, too." I said, "Yes. I could see that from their serious little smart expressions." He told me he doesn't want them to grow up thinking that their cuteness is the only thing that matters.

Now, when I meed a kid for 30 seconds, I can pretty much asses their cuteness and not much else. This cuteness isn't just their attractivness but the adorable charm and sweetness of a kid. If a kid says something cute, it has nothing to do with their looks, right?

So, I am now paranoid that I am telling kids their looks are the only thing that matters. I thought about complimenting with "charming" but what if they grow up thinking they have to be Mr. or Ms. Personality? Maybe I will just stop talking to kids! :)

BTW, glad you are back. Serious HF withdrawals!

Torchness said...

This is why I probably won't have kids. I get an unnatural urge to drop kick them. I keep hearing that when they're yours, they're not quite as annoying as others', but I'm not sure if I want to find that out.

And isn't Wesley Snipes sad? I can't believe Noxema Jackson (To Wong Foo) or Willie Mays Hayes (Major League) or even Blade (well, Blade) may go to prison! What is the world coming to.

Samantha said...

Ha, funny. I enjoy reading all of these blogs of parents. I think it's good preparation for when I have kids. And yours is nicely worded, too, so that helps.

Suzie Petunia said...

I've received A LOT of comments like that, and yah, my kids ARE cute and smart and all, but that doesn't lessen the sheer embarassment they cause on a regular basis. I know "it will be over before I know it!" but frankly I can't wait until they are all old enough to know what I'm saying and wipe themselves.

Adrienne said...

You should put a tshirt on the kid that says "This baby is a bomb." Probably wouldn't settle her down, but I can guarantee Penny's pissy mood would be the least traumatic event of the day.

The woman said...

Dearest little Sawah,
I have only one thing to say:
LIFE IS FAIR! Oh yes, what goes around comes around, as they say. Enjoy the abuse; you certainly earned it. I certainly had it coming myself, as I was a wondrous teenage brat to my own angel mother. That's life, Pixie dear. No need to drop kick the kids. They'll get what they deserve from the next generation. But it's a divine struggle; somehow it refines us. Like me, for instance. Don't I seem refined to you? Don't I?

This was a vewwy good post.
Much love, your darling angel martyr; er, mother.

Lisa M. said...

Never in my entire life have I been more convinced than that of the complete and utter positiveness that people don't really think about the things they say.

I've had some real dooooozies.

The last one, I can recall from a seemingly nice middle aged lady was "What is wrong with him, Oh, not trying to offend you, but I can tell something isn't right"

Um ya. *rolling eyes*

People really do not think about the things they say.

And I too made my moms life a living hell when i was young, so far, at 19,17 and 15, my kids have been pretty darn good.

Tho I have a feeling, my 15 year old is sooner or later, gonna give me a run for my money.

BUT, so far, so good.

I am so screwed if there really is such a thing as Karma.

(I left home at 15)


Adrienne said...

You know, I must have been a boring child, because I... don't think I ever did anything all that bad as a teenager, and I am actually POSITIVE I never made my mom cry. I didn't drink, I never snuck out... I never even borrowed the CAR without permission.

Of course, my parents were the most laid back parents on the planet. As long as I called and they knew where I was, I could do anything or be just about anywhere.

"Mom, I'm in Vegas playing the slots and stripping for cash!"
"Okay, but you better be home by midnight."

Well, alright, nothing THAT racy, but still... I guess it's hard to be rebellious when there's nothing really to rebel AGAINST...

Mama Benac said...

Yes, well, Adrienne, that's why I loved it when you came over. A teenager who liked me? What? I remember so many happy times when you graced the halls of the old Crescent house.

I think one reason 'only children' have less trouble with their parents may be that there is no competition for attention, no comparisons made, and no need to get noticed. If anything, you want NOT to be noticed to get out of the constant limelight. But what do I know? As the fifth of nine this whole idea is pure speculation for me.

I like big families, though. I like my big family. It's so satisfying to have these human lab rats upon whom one can practice one's Christianity. The good news? It works! They turn out! Mine did, anyway. So far... And in the process, I turn out.

Life is good. Love your posts.

Anonymous said...

this one was a good post. so funny, so true. i bet that it was therapeutic to write out all of the really good comebacks that you wish you could have given that lady. she is lucky that she got off with a semi-sarcastic statement compared to what you could have given her.

all i can say is, have you heard of benadryl? I have never actually had to use it on any of my kids that weren't really sick, but i had a pharmacist say that it was one of the safest drugs to give kids and everyone on the plane (including the child) is happy that you gave it to your child. i always carry it in my diaper bags on trips JUST IN CASE. with two more plane rides in the next two months it might not hurt to try it.

Anonymous said...

the "unnatural urge to drop kick them" comment made me laugh SO HARD! it wouldn't be funny if you actually did it, but to recognize your urge....

the other funny one that i have heard like that is when someone said that they just wanted to stuff some kid in the cupboard.

kids are so precious....

Sarah said...

Oh man I love you guys! Thanks for all your funny comments and not calling child protective services on my sorry rear.

I ALWAYS forget to bring benadryl. I think I have some sick repressed sadistic side where I love to torture myself. Why else wouldn't I drug the heck out of my kid every second?

Katherine Shirek Doughtie said...

Here's the deal. You will NEVER forget these moments, but the glee you'll feel when you see other people enduring them while your children are sweetly playing their anesthetizing video games (worth every penny) in about 10 years will be incredible. You will LOVE to hate the people with the kids screaming and throwing ice across the seats (that would've been my son, circa 1994). You will LOVE rolling your eyes across the aisle to the other beleagured passengers. And what you will TOTALLY love is making those little inane comments to the poor dazed sociopathic mom as you trip lightly down the aisle, with your children carrying their own backpacks and you just holding your little airplane reading book, with it's nice little bookmark showing how many pages you just enjoyed in peace and quiet. Oh, Sarah. She was loving being able to say that. You will live to do the same. Work up some good phrases; it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Adrienne, could you please give us normal people the source for those high-tech rose colored glasses you're wearing as you review your blameless youth? We could use those things!