The Inception Dream

The thing I discovered (along with most mothers) is how irrevocable the transformation to motherhood is. Before Chris, I had a vacation-like easy life. At least it seems so in retrospect. I had extra money, extra time, I traveled, I went out with friends, I slept a LOT.

After Chris, I’m a relatively broke, sleep deprived homebody, with chronic short-term memory loss. And at the risk of sounding cheesy, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I used to hear that and similar sentiments before having a kid, and I thought, “Well, duh, it’s not like you can change it. What else would you say?” But now I’m on this side of things, and I’m like, “OH!!! Nope, I really wouldn’t change it.” I am delighted by my son, even when he is being a monster. Nothing on Earth has ever made me happier or entertained me more and it’s worth every puke covered top, broken knick-knack and lost night of sleep.

I consider myself a pretty responsible human being, but I still can’t believe I have been trusted to take care of something so good. So, my brain can’t even go to any imaginary place that doesn’t include me being Chris’s mom. My rational, lazy mind has been replaced with this constant terror-alert– PROTECT PROTECT PROTECT. If no immediate danger is apparent, the alert will be downgraded to WHAT-IF WHAT-IF WHAT-IF… Promptly bringing it back up to terror.

That means it is not possible to wish for my life before. If I try to imagine a situation where I am relieved of nonstop laundry, long sleepless nights, a constantly messy house and a drained bank account, I have to rely on science fiction.

“Wouldn’t it be great,” I’d think, “If I had a pause button for the world?” Smilingly dopily at the idea of pressing a button on a remote and freezing a tantrum mid-shriek so I could catch a nap on the couch.

I watched “Inception” like it was an educational film. “I see, so if I had a dream, within a dream within a dream that I was sleeping… I could sleep for 3 days straight? Guess I gotta get me one of those talisman thingies. Let’s do this.”


Who took my sweet child and replaced him with an emo Tasmania devil?

We were very lucky not to really have terrible twos, but it seems like we are having terrible threes. He’s so emotional, and so easily frustrated. I’d get upset with him… OK, I do get upset with him, but I also see myself in him. Honestly, the way he reacts to disappointing situations is exactly how I want to react. I would rather he didn’t stomp on his trucks or fling his little super hero guys across the room when they don’t behave the way he wants, but I’m not surprised or even that upset that he does.

I’m pretty good at self-control, and I’m teaching that to him as best I can. This is a little challenging, because I actually can’t really remember how I learned it. It might have just been natural; maybe I’m just a restrained person by birth, despite the brattiness that I can feel bubbling underneath. It might have been lots of tough lessons.

Even though I know it’s important for him to learn self-control, if for no other reason than to keep him from getting kicked out of places, I kind of hope he doesn’t learn it quite as well as I have. I think there are many times in my life when I would have been better served by screaming my frustration. So sometimes, I just let those action figures fly, without commenting on them. I’m pretty sure they were asking for it, anyway.