Fine, I admit it.
I can be anti-social.
Sometimes I have to force myself to converse with other people. I don’t know if it’s the Only Child in me or what. I mean, I’m in desperate need for female companionship over here but at the same time I’m worried I’m going make friends with one of those needy types that call every few minutes and show up at my doorstep every single day and ask me brightly if I can watch their kid. Here’s the thing: I hate watching other people’s children and I’d seriously be tempted to throw a fit if someone showed up at my door right before Lost was due to start.
I mainly keep to myself. Sure I’ll wave hello to the neighbors and we’ll exchange a few pleasantries but that’s about as far as it will go.
Yesterday I spotted a group of mothers on the sidewalk talking and I figured I ought to force myself out there and converse with them. I mean, I don’t want them to think I’m some sort of freak. So I took a deep breath and scooped Natalie up and headed outside. Tommy was already outside running around with a few of his friends.
Now, approaching a group of people makes me nervous. I’m always worried that everyone is going to pause in their talking and shoot me a dirty look for interrupting. Then I get paranoid that no one will move and allow me to squeeze into the circle and I’ll sort of be standing there on the outside while everyone carries on with their chatter. I wish I could be one of those bubbly people who just rush up to groups and easily include themselves—but that’s not me. I’m totally shy and as I said before, somewhat anti-social so it takes me a few minutes to warm up.
Thankfully a few of the other mothers spotted me coming and waved hello.
I was easily accepted into the circle and a few of them asked how I was faring without my husband.
“It’s hard,” I admitted. “But I like having the bed to myself.”
There were 4 mothers there and only two of them laughed at that. The other two stared at me blankly. I suppose they’re the types that can’t sleep by themselves.
Then the conversation dived into our children and I sort of stared off into space because okay, I love my kids, but I don’t feel the need to spend every waking minute of the day talking about them. If I’m with an adult I sort of prefer to keep the kid chat to a minimum being that I’m surrounded by children all day long.
“And, I can’t believe it, but I overheard Lucas saying ‘Who died and made you boss?’ and I was HORRIFIED!” one of the mothers was saying incredulously.
My heart immediately started racing at that. Why? Well, um, because I sort of taught Tommy that phrase to say to this irritating neighborhood kid named Chase. I have an excuse though. Chase is incredibly bossy and I’ve overheard him instructing the kids on what to do and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Especially when I saw Chase shouting at Tommy that he couldn’t play Army with them.
“Why?” Tommy had wondered. “I want to play.”
“I said NO!” Chase screamed.
Tommy would run into the house in tears on more than one occasion because Chase wouldn’t let him play. So I told Tommy to say to Chase, ‘Who died and made you boss?’
I suppose the phrase is circulating around the neighborhood now. Tommy had told me that he had said that to Chase the other day and I asked what Chase’s reaction was.
“Oh, he was mad. But he let me play!” Tommy said triumphantly.
I was pleased that it had worked but I forgot that kids had big mouths.
So I stood in the circle of mothers and pretended to look all aghast that our darling children were asking each other who had died and made them boss.
Obviously the phrase doesn’t bother me much but it really seemed to disturb one of the mothers and she went into a rant on how rude it was to say and blah blah blah…I sort of went off into a daze again as she slammed her fist into her palm and said something like, “These kids need to stay sweet!”
A snort of laughter escaped my lips.
The ranting mother paused and shot me a look.
“Oh,” I said, reddening. “I, um, agree.” I bobbed my head enthusiastically even though I was thinking Yeah, hardly any of these kids on the neighborhood are SWEET. I mean, they’re loud, they’re rude and they question adults. I’m still shocked over the fact that some kid took Tommy’s bike out of our garage even though I had told him not to.
While the mother continued with her passionate speech, Natalie had started to run around the group. Then she walked over to me and pointed and shouted, “Boobie! BOOBIE!”
This seems to be one of her favorite words these days. When I got out of the shower one night she had pointed to my breasts and I had told her in a sing-song voice, “Those are my boobies!” and she cracked up like I was Elmo or something.
Anyhow, Ranting Mother paused in her diatribe and stared at Natalie in horror. “Did she just say....boobie?” She honestly seemed disturbed by this. She probably would have passed out if Natalie had said the word penis. In her household I imagine she calls the male anatomy Mr. Tinkles or Silly Willy.
(You have no idea how hard it was not to shout, "Vaginas!" to see what her reaction would have been.)
I didn’t want to cause a commotion and make her pass out from shock or anything so I went, “Oh no. She said bally.” I saw a yellow ball against the curb and ran over to grab it. “Here you go, darling!” I said and shoved it in Natalie’s confused hands.
Ranting mother relaxed and went on with her speech on ways we could enforce manners in our children and if we heard them say something inappropriate that we needed to band together and not be afraid to stop them.
I’ve been doing this for over a year but I kept my mouth shut.
I think the rest of us mothers were a little tired of hearing Ranting Mother speak so another one piped up to change the subject.
“I’m having a Pampered Chef party!” she called out.
I’ve been to one of those before and I felt like I was back in elementary school again. I mean, one of the games was to remember what everything was on a table before it was covered up again. I did that back in the third grade. Why would I want to do it as an adult?
Plus it was hard for me to get excited about cookware when I don’t even like to cook. Some women seemed like they were about to rip off their shirts and twirl it around in the air because they were so excited over these colorful spatulas. I sort of sat there in confusion and tried to muster up the same enthusiasm but it wasn’t working.
I remember one lady had gushed, “I am LUSTING over the stoneware!” and I had nodded along but was really thinking, “Stoneware? Pampered Chef wants me to cook on STONES?” I realized what she meant later on but for a few minutes there I was at a loss.
“I hope you all can make it to my party on Saturday!” Pampered Chef Mom said.
Quick! Make an excuse!
“Er…” I said, trying to sound all apologetic. “I don’t think I’ll be there. My son has a...dentist appointment.”
It’s a total lie but I had to say SOMETHING. I couldn’t very well say, “Actually, cooking bores the ever loving crap out of me and colored spatulas aren’t my thing.”
“A dentist appointment on Saturday?” Ranting Mom spoke up, raising an eyebrow at me.
She’s onto you! Quick, say something else!
“Well, my son’s tooth has been bothering him…..” I trailed off. Then I looked at Natalie who was contently playing with the ball and said, “Oh, Natalie is starting to look upset so I better get her inside. It was lovely talking to you all!” I picked up Natalie who did NOT want to give up the ball and who screamed right into my ear.
“It’s okay, darling. We’re going inside now. I know you’re probably hot,” I said loudly as she tried to break free.
About an hour later the Pampered Chef mom knocked on my door. I nearly passed out when I saw it was her.
She knows I was lying about the dentist appointment. She’s coming to confront me and attack me with her purse!
But no, she just wanted to show me the Pampered Chef catalogue so if I wanted to order anything I could let her know. I perused it as she chattered on about the FABULOUS plates and the FABULOUS stoneware and nearly passed out when I saw that two of those FABULOUS plates she was talking about were $34. For TWO plates? Maybe it escaped her mind that we’re in a recession and if I fork over $34 for dinnerware then I damn well better be getting an entire set.
Still, I smiled politely and promised that I’d let her know if I found anything.
I did flip through the catalogue after she left and laughed when I saw that Pampered Chef wanted me to fork out $29 for a Bamboo platter that I’d probably only use once and then never again because it would be stored separately from all my regular stuff so I’d just forget about it.
Of course I can understand how people can get excited over Pampered Chef stuff. I get the same way over children’s clothing. I love shopping for my kids and dressing them up in things like this:
If there was a party for children’s clothing then I’d definitely be there.