If Thomas could talk and you asked him about his family, he would probably tell you that he has a brother, a father, and two mothers. These two mothers are mysteriously, constantly at odds. One is best described as a doting bully. Very attentive, but also, quite frankly, dangerous. The second mother spends most of her time looking for that first mother and saying things like, “Mary! Virginia! LEAVE HIM ALONE!”
Except for when it’s time to fold the laundry or make dinner, Mary Virginia thinks of herself as a mommy, or worse, my mommy. “Now remember,” she says. “I’m the mommy and you’re the kid.”
She calls me darling, tells me what we’re going to do today, breaks the news that we aren’t going to Target. “It’s ok though because we’re going to the playground and that will be fun, Darling.”
When we actually are going somewhere, while I’m performing our “getting ready to go somewhere” routine of gathering jackets and water bottles (oh, and getting all three actual children in one place), I tell Mary Virginia to put on her shoes and she says, “Hold on. I have to feed my baby, then we can go.”
Then, she quietly puts my phone and my keys in her backpack. She doesn’t mention this when I start spinning in circles asking, “Where are my keys? Have you guys seen Mommy’s keys?”
The other day Mary Virginia was climbing on our side table. This is something both the kids do every day, multiple times a day. Something I tell them every day, multiple times a day, to stop doing.
I asked her to get down and, sure enough a few minutes later, she was back up there, swinging and kicking her legs toward my favorite lamp, deliberately disobeying me.
This struck a nerve, and I launched into a lecture about the side table, which is NOT for climbing! And if you want to climb you need to go outside! And furthermore this is about DISOBEDIENCE, children! What do I have to do to get you two to obey? If climbing on that table is the only thing you can think of to do then let’s just get rid of all of your toys and then you can climb on it all you want. Starting now there will be BIG consequences for climbing on that table NOW GET OFF THE TABLE!
I finished, high on my own sense of authority.
Mary Virginia walked over and rested her hand on my shoulder. She looked at me and said in a knowing tone, “My kids always swing on that table, too.”