A mom friend texted me the other day. “Just a heads-up before our playdate, my son hasn't napped so he's a big Krabby Patty today. Major Krusty Krab over here. Krabtown, population: one!”
My eyeballs physically fought their knee-jerk inclination to roll sarcastically. We're 30-year-old women. When did we start talking to each other in SpongeBob euphemisms? I've always aspired to be the cool mom. The one who has tattoos and laughs at stuff like Go the F*ck to Sleep and All My Friends are Dead.
But then, this morning, I found myself babbling nonsensical things to my fourth baby. “Who's the googinest dude?” I asked as he cooed his favorite new utterance (“goo“) up at me over and over again. “Who's the most googley-eyed? Who's the Google Search Console? Who's the Goog-enheim?”
OH MY GOD.
I've become that mom.
Last night, my 2-year-old woke me up by whacking me in the head with a banana at 3 am. I thought it was just a dream until I found the peel on my pillow when my alarm went off at 6. Instead of chucking it in the trash like a normal human being, I used that limp fruit remnant as a puppet in my breakfast rendition of “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”
Seriously, who am I?
Before kids, I had zero interest in Star Wars. As a teenager, my boyfriend actually dumped me because I turned to him in the middle of Episode II – Attack of the Clones and confessed, “Aren't we watching Luke Skywalker's backstory? Is Anakin supposed to be Darth Vader? I'm confused!”
But then, a few months ago, my 5-year-old decided that Star Wars is the best thing EVER. So now I can tell you the difference between a TIE Fighter versus an X-Wing, and all the sordid rumors surrounding Rey's lineage.
None of this has any relevance to my life outside of the fact that it makes my children light up. So here I am, stuffing my brain cells full of random tidbits about dinosaurs and superheroes and discovering that Shimmer and Shine aren't just verbs anymore.
I think my resistance to the cutesy and kitschy catchings of childhood initially stemmed from a fear of losing myself. Plus, I've seen parents get caught up in the magic of their child's every move and completely fail to notice when those kids display concerning behaviors. My own history clearly makes me a bit pessimistic. The thing is, though, I think I'm capable of maintaining a certain groundedness when it comes to my kids. I don't need snark for self-preservation.
Maybe, hopefully, I actually can balance my own identity while embracing my children's passions in this newly-geekified version of myself.
I'm not saying I'll be the mom busting out neon pom poms at the next wrestling tournament. But I also won't be the one muttering about how the mat is basically a giant ringworm petri dish.
Perhaps the key to parenthood is recognizing that kids do remarkably well without a bunch of personal reflection or commentary. Our job, basically, is to not screw it up. All we need to do is get out of the way and embrace the inevitable weirdness.
And no matter how many times they try to pee in your potted plants, eventually it just stops seeming funny to call your children a**holes.
At a certain point, you need to get over yourself and tie on your kid's superhero cape – even if you're fairly positive he just wiped boogers all over the damn thing.
I guess somewhere along the way, this Grinch grew a heart.
Maybe it was the sixteenth time I was forced to sing along with Whoville last December.