Me: What do you want for your birthday?Quinten: (looking at me like I have asked him to invent cold fusion) I don’t know.
Me: You don’t even have an idea?
Quinten: I don’t really need anything.
Me: (irritated because this is what he always says) Need, SCHMEED! This isn’t about need. What do you want?
Quinten: Can I think about it?
Me: You keep saying that. Haven’t you thought about it since our last conversation?
Quinten: (looking at me sheepishly because he hasn’t)
Me: Seriously, if you don’t tell me what you want soon, I’m going to have to resort to just giving you an Amazon gift card and a blow job.
Yesterday, after realizing that Quinten’s birthday is a mere six days away and having yet another version of that same conversation, I went to Amazon’s website and prepared to just get him a damned gift card. Which is when I noticed that Amazon has a “gift ideas” section of the store.
Fascinated, I started perusing the lists. I was hoping there might be something on one of those lists that might be more fun than just a gift card to accompany any other little *ahem* presents I might give Quinten. The lists are quite comprehensive….there are lists by price of gift, personality type, hobby, and relationship (e.g.: gifts for your husband, or your wife, or your mom, etc.). I was in the middle of not finding anything worthwhile when I got curious. I mean, what, exactly, was on that list of gifts for Moms?
Well, for starters, Amazon thinks I want a heated blanket. Oh sure, a heated blanket is just the thing for my three-year-old daughter, Iris, to steal from me so I can remain shivering on the other end of the couch while she is all cozy and warm watching that same episode of Dora the insipid and annoying Explorer for the seventeenth time.
Evidently, I also want potpourri, tennis shoes designed by Heidi Klum, a travel mug, candle holders, foot massagers, flannel pajamas, cooking gadgets, and kitchen storage & organization.
Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME???
If by “foot massagers” Amazon means my husband rubbing my right foot and Jon Hamm kneading the left, then yes, by all means, that sounds like a lovely gift.*
Really, Amazon? Candle holders and kitchen organization? Come on. You’re better than that. Here, I’ll give you some help. I give you six things that I would be willing to bet most mothers would actually put on their wish lists:
1. For 24 Hours, I Wish All the Calories I Eat Would Have an Inverse Effect on my Weight
Some people might merely wish for 24 hours where the calories they eat have no effect on their figure one way or the other. Me? I say dream big or go home. I mean, really, wouldn’t it be an amazing gift if, just temporarily, you would actually lose weight based on how many calories you consumed? Can you imagine it? Hmmmm, you’d think, looking at your less-than-flat stomach in the mirror that morning, I could stand to shed a few pounds. I better...EAT AN ENTIRE CHEESECAKE!!!
That would be Awesome.
2. I Wish I Could Watch a Whole Television Show or Movie in One Sitting
One of the greatest skills I have developed since becoming a mother is the ability to watch any television show or movie, no matter how detail-oriented or plot-heavy, in five or ten minute increments. I watched the movie Miss Potter on DVD last month. And by “last month,” I mean it took me an actual month to watch the movie.
I turned it on while I was folding laundry one afternoon. Iris was engrossed in a game that involved her princess toys living in the play castle with her pirate toys and her pony toys. She’d chased me away from the game several times, so I felt fairly certain that my input was neither needed nor desired. So, I pressed play, settled in, started folding, and five minutes later:
Iris: (abandoning her toys and climbing up on my chair so she can put her face right in front of mine) Mommy?Me: (pausing the movie) Yes?
Iris: Can I watch a show?
Me: You watched a show already. Remember? We watched Sesame Street together? Now it’s Mommy’s turn to watch a show.
Iris: (whimpering) But I want to watch my show.
Me: Well, you have to wait your turn, sweetie. It’s Mommy’s turn now, and, when Mommy’s show is done, you can have another turn. Okay?
Iris: (pouting) Ooookay.
I started the movie again, and, after another five minutes:
Iris: (climbing up me like I am a jungle gym) Mommy? I want a treat to eat!Me: (pausing the movie again) You already had a treat to eat, honey. You had a cookie after lunch, remember?
Iris: But I want a treat!
Iris: (changing tactics) Can I have something fresh? Like fruit?
Me: You can have some carrots if you want some. Do you want some carrots?
I got up, went to the kitchen, got her some carrots and dip to eat, then sat back down and restarted the movie. Seven and a half minutes later, Iris started singing the alphabet song slowly and at the top of her lungs. I turned on the closed captioning of the movie, determined to keep watching. Iris stopped singing, then:
Iris: Mommy?Me: (pausing the movie) What?
Iris: Is it my turn now?
Me: (defeated and turning off the DVD player) Fine. Yes, it’s your turn.
We repeated this process, more or less exactly, multiple times over the next four weeks until I had watched the entire film. While I am proud of my incremental-television-watching skills, I would prefer a less labored method of television viewing.
3. I Wish I Could Spend Time in the Bathroom All Alone
I want to shower by myself. And pee alone. And, dear God please, I want to poop without anyone asking me what I’m doing.
4. I Wish I Could Eat My Entire Dinner without Getting Up
It never fails. After planning the menu, shopping for the all the food, and cooking a meal, no sooner do I sit down and get a single forkful in my mouth when this happens:
Iris: I have to pee!Me: Can you go by yourself?
Me: Yes you can. You can go by yourself like a big girl.
Iris: Noooooo! I caaaaaaannnnn’t!!!!
Me: Then you must not need to go very badly.
Iris: (sounding like a petulant teenager) Fine! (stomping down the hall to the bathroom where she does, indeed, go pee by herself like a big girl)
Me: (standing in the doorway to the hallway down to the bathroom) See! You did that all by yourself! I'm proud of you!
Iris: Now I need to poop!
Iris: It's going to be a stinky poop and then you'll HAVE to come in here!
And, because no one should ever trust a three-year-old with the toilet paper after a poop, especially a stinky one, I do go in there. When I'm done laughing.
When we are done, I sit down and get another bite of food and then, Penny, the puppy, starts whining, and I have to get up to let her out the back door.
Then Iris spills her drink and I have to get towels to clean it up.
Then Penny barks and scratches at the back door, demanding to be let inside again.
And then my meal is cold.
5. I Wish I Could Sleep Until I Wake Up
You know that thing they tell you about “as your child gets older, you’ll get more sleep”? It’s a lie. A bald-faced, disgusting lie. Bad dreams, blanket tangles, monsters under the bed, drinks of water, midnight potty trips, the Goodnight Fairy, and middle-of-the-night-solo-sing-alongs all conspire to make sure I am, at all times, sleep deprived. Sleep deprived as in, if I lie down anywhere at all at any time of day, I will fall asleep. Since Iris was born, I have not once had to use an alarm clock because she IS an alarm clock. And, these days, mornings frequently involve some pretty tense negotiations:
Iris: (yelling while I wake up, throw off the covers, look at the clock and see that it’s only 6:15am, get out of bed and stumble down the hall to her bedroom) MOOOOOMMM???? IS IT UP TIME?????? MOM??!? IS IT UP TIME???? IS IT UP TIME???? MOMMY???? IS IT UP TIME???????????Me: (opening the door) Good morning, Iris.
Iris: Hi, Mommy. Is it up time now?
Me: (treading carefully because I want her to go back to sleep for a while and I know tears will ensue if I just say no and then there really won’t be any getting her to go back to sleep for a while) What if I said it wasn’t up time, yet?
Iris: But is it up time?
Me: What if I said it wasn’t?
Iris: But IS it up time?
Me: What if it wasn’t?
Iris: But, Mommy, is it up time now?
Me: (sighing because I am not now, nor will I ever be, winning this debate) Yes. (sighing again) It’s up time.
I would settle for an afternoon nap.
The thing is, I'm never, ever going to get any of the wishes on my wish list. Why? Because of the sixth wish. The sixth wish is the downfall of every mom everywhere....
6. I Wish to Trade In All of My Previous Wishes In Order to Wish for Something to Make My Child Happy.
There is nothing I want more than for Iris to be happy. And I will give up sleep, and privacy, all the hot meals ever made, and a whole lot more to get that. Because I'm a mom and that's what we do.
*The Jon Hamm Foot Massager (TM), while not a real product, SHOULD BE. We'd make a fortune! But, I'm pretty sure Jon Hamm would be exhausted. And I don't know how he feels about feet.