After reading What to Expect When You're Expecting as if it were the pregnancy bible, and then What to Expect The First Year as if it were a comedy, I abandoned learning about motherhood from books. Every single thing I did was against the rules. I drank coffee in my third trimester, gained 40 pounds from eating double, deplored the get to know each other games in Lamaze class, and wanted only to know how soon into labor I could get the epidural. Pregnancy was more an illness for me than a journey. I went to the hospital before ever having a real contraction, begged for the drugs, hallucinated on the Nubane, and gave birth to a daughter that made being a mom feel easy. I didn't breast feed, and I didn't make my own organic baby food. I did put my children on my schedule, which included bed time at 8:30 (which we still live by) and taking them to the beach before they were six weeks old.
I have a lot to learn about being a mother. Abbey, experiencing hormonal changes, could be my undoing.
While Jake was in kindergarten he told me that I shouldn't say the s word anymore because his teacher said it was a bad word. I thought long and hard wondering which s word did he use in front of his teacher. Did he say shit? or sex maybe?
"Jake," I said, "tell mommy what is the s word?"
Jake hesitated, "no, you aren't going to trick me; I won't say it."
"Please," I begged. "I'm not sure I know what it is. Do I say it?"
He leaned up to my ear, and only after making me pinky promise that I wouldn't tell his teacher, he whispered, "stupid."
I was relieved and horrified. However was I going to avoid using the word stupid? I immediately decided I would try really hard to use dumb in its place.
Abbey just recently asked me if crap is a bad word.
"Not really bad, but definitely a potty word." I explained.
Her teacher told her it's one of the big ones, the worst.
That's because she's a well bred Southern lady from a world where a nice young belle would never say any word that deals with the bathroom.
Abbey thought quietly for a moment then said, "well I'm a sweet Southern girl, but I said crap twice today."
I reassured her, "yes you are a sweet Southern girl, but you have some Yankee breeding, and we don't give a shit about stuff like that."
She laughed. She likes my humor.
I think she expected me to give my words speech, something from Alice in Wonderland. The one where I explain words are just our lame attempt to give ideas form. They only have meaning when we give them meaning. But instead,
In life we find ourselves in houses with many rooms. Whenever we enter any room, we need very quickly to assess where the walls are and where the doors are. Then we must be careful never to walk through a wall. Use only doors. Occasionally there will be a window. Know where these are too. From time to time you may need to escape through one. When the assessment is slow or uncertain, stay in the hallway.
Abbey laughed again.
I wasn't being funny.
She said, "My teacher won't even say my last name."
I said, "Have you told her your middle name is kissma?"