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Thursday, May 01, 2008

The worst mother.

I knew something was up. When I went to the drop-in nursery to pick up Baby J, they were all smiling at me in that way that says,

"You are the worst mother, but we'll try to be sympathetic, because sure, it's hard. But, seriously? You are the worst one. And it's annoying."

I guess I am the worst one, because I was in possession of three pair of the "pants of shame." You know those pants, the ones they give kids to wear when they soil their own and didn't bring a spare pair from home. The pants aren't so shameful for the kids. In fact, at least one of my children used to pretend to wet his pants in kindergarten, because they had a pair he really liked to borrow. He would sneak and pour water on his pants and go to the teacher claiming to have wet himself. Brilliant, eh? Baby J's problem is not a lack of control; he's still in diapers. His problem is that his mother is too lazy to find a brand of disposable diapers that fits him.

In my defense, I use and have used cloth diapers for all of my children. The nursery requires disposable and I was overwhelmed by the choices. I called an expert, my friend who has four daughters, the oldest in kindergarten. That woman knows diapers. She wasn't home, but her equally knowledgeable husband told me what to get. I'm a lazy woman with no interest in the finer points of disposable diapers a creature of habit, so I keep getting the same ones. And they leak. So Baby J needs new pants, which I forget to pack in his bag, so they have to lend him a pair, which I forget to return, so they are now out of pants and mad at me.

Before I left, several people from the nursery made suggestions. I tried (and succeeded, more or less) to ignore the patronizing tone, especially because it was justified.

"When you get home today, put them in your car right away. Then they'll be there next time you come!"

This was offered with the kind of smile you give to someone who is mentally challenged, to show how proud you will be if they remember!

"You don't even have to wash them!"

Okay, that was crossing a line. Do I really seem like the kind of mother who doesn't do laundry for weeks at a time? As it would happen, I am that kind of mother, but only because laundry is one of the things my husband does willingly and well. I would do it if he didn't. I swear! For the record, the pants were clean and in the pile of clothes on top of the washing machine where we keep Baby J's clothes. I can't believe they hadn't noticed he'd been wearing two of the pants fairly regularly. Or maybe they had noticed and thought we were trying to steal them, which I guess we kind of were.

Apparently, Baby J had exhausted the entire stock of "pants of shame" and they needed them back. This is understandable, so I returned them the very next time. Well, not the very next time, but pretty close. First, the pants had to make the journey from the laundry room to the top of the piano, where they stayed for a few days. Then my husband, who hadn't a clue where the pants came from, put them back in the laundry room and I had to start the process all over. Within a week, they made it to the car and back to the nursery, clean. Pretty impressive, huh?

The day I brought Baby J and the pants to the nursery, I was so proud and the ladies were proud of me. I could tell from their big smiles and applause. Blushing at the praise, I left to enjoy my morning. When I came to pick him up, however, I got the sympathy smiles again, this time with a bit more of an edge. My offense? The baby needs a haircut. And the nursery is no military school. I think they're just grossed out that his hair gets caught in the congealing river coming from his nose. It grosses me out, too, but I'm hoping for a short allergy season and I can't bear to cut those sweet baby curls just yet.

I made an effort, though, to solve the problem. The next time I took him, I washed his hair first and used (sort of all natural, semi-organic Aveda) mousse to hold his hair off of his face. I explained what I had done and, while they weren't as enthusiastic as they had been about the pants, the ladies seemed satisfied. I remain, though, the mother that makes all the other ones feel better about themselves. Someone has to do it. You're welcome!

Namsté, y'all!


Lizzie said...

This is a very patriotic look. I want to sing an anthem. And vote multiple times. For Hillary, of course.

Roger Hutchison said...

Hilarious! Reminds me of the time we took R. to church and when I handed her over to someone who wanted to give her "the peace", we realized she had no panties on.