Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stupid Mom

No matter what they do, moms are always wrong. They're wrong when they know they're wrong, and they're wrong even if they are completely, blissfully unaware that they have done something heinous. I speak from several years' experience as the mom of a teenager and a young Virgo boy. It's a tough audience.

This morning I was toasting happily under the covers in our sub-zero house when Tyke, readying himself for departure on the school bus, yelled across the hall. "Moooooommmmm! Moooooommmm, I can't find my book!" He is reading competitively for a Battle of the Books quiz contest, and has just segued from his first to his second book. (Frankly, I think the books they have assigned fifth-graders are well below his level--he could have read them in second grade--but all the easier for him in the contest.) "Mom, I put my book on my bedroom floor with my clothes for today, and now it's gone!"

This is precisely the sort of thing that makes Virgos cry, and I could hear the beginning of a whimper in his voice. In typical wrong-mom fashion, I said, "Well, why was it on the floor where it doesn't belong instead of on one of your bookcases?" [Not helpful. I am crabby in the morning.]

"I put it with my clothes so I couldn't possibly forget to take it to school." [Solid logic.]

"Which book? Just in case Isaw it somewhere."

"Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man," he sniffed.

"Look under the bed. Maybe it got kicked there accidentally."

"No, my sleeping bag is hanging all the way to the floor and nothing could have gotten under there."

"Well, I don't know where it is. Nobody went into your room after you got in bed." Of course at this time I was searching my groggy mind for what precisely had happened between his going to bed and mine. Just as I heard him tromp, defeated, downstairs toward the door, I remembered yesterday.

When Tyke had arrived home from school, he triumphantly presented me with a wadded up brown paper towel and a wall-to-wall smile. "What's this?" I asked.

"Remember my tooth that was driving me crazy? It finally came out today!"

One of the ways I have typically been wrong as a mom in the past has been in the Tooth Fairy department. I'm routinely amiss in the Pay-for-Tooth Program. Yesterday, therefore, I resolved to absolutely, positively remember to compensate Tyke immediately this time. So---I was wrong again! I had said I hadn't been in the room when I most assuredly had. I remembered sneaking up a few minutes after he went to bed to slip a dollar under his pillow. And, even worse, I specifically remember thinking as I tiptoed into the pitch-dark room, "Who knows what a person might step on in here?" Well, a book, for instance?

After completing my morning ablutions I went into his room to see if I had, indeed, kicked a floor-dwelling book into an obscure corner, but none was to be found.

On my way downstairs I pondered the irony of this event. I had ordered Tyke's books from Amazon, and they had inexplicably sent TWO copies of Sammy Keyes. For one thing I am lazy, and did not feel like going through the return process. For another thing, I knew that other kids would be participating in the Battle of the Books, so I decided somebody else might well benefit from this copy. I had sent it in with a note to the librarian who is emceeing (is that a word?) the Battle. Just yesterday she had sent me a thank-you. Thus, where we once had two copies of this book, apparently we now had none. The Fates are giggling . . .

I got down to the bottom of the stairs and there, in the middle of the family room floor next to a pile of newly folded laundered Tyke clothes was the book. Staring me right in the face. And to think the Tyke had spent much of his morning in that very room . . .

See? Moms are always wrong.

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