I sometimes wonder if I have been blessed with the unique gift of maternal instincts. Yes, I can change a diaper at lightning speed and hit the floor running at any hour when I hear the word “Mommy!” But in other areas, I feel I am grossly lacking. “What are they?” you ask. I always burn grill cheese sandwiches. Despite my vigilant efforts to remain by the frying pan, I am inevitably drawn away for an instant, and wham!, they pass golden brown straight to black. Another strike against me? When I play my kids in games, I never let them win on purpose. I am so competitive that you can’t get me to throw a game of Chutes and Ladders.
But perhaps the worst of my failings as a mom is my inability to turn off my overly analytical mind when watching videos with my kids or reading them books. I just can’t get over all the obviously implausible and sometimes illogical premises, no matter how many times I tell myself “It’s just a book. It’s for kids. Leave it alone.” What is worse, I can’t help but point it out to the kids. “See there, Maggie. Did you notice that Papa Bear is a complete idiot who can’t find his elbow without Mama Bear’s help?” “Sam, have you ever noticed that Little People are all kids and yet where are their parents? Why are they completely unsupervised and where are Child Protective Services?” (This is to say nothing regarding the inconsistencies of such award winning programs as Little Bear where animals that are otherwise regarded as predator and prey buddy up to one another or Franklin where the turtle gets a name and everyone else is known simply by their animal type.) It’s a sickness, I know.
Just the other day, we were riding in the car, enjoying a lovely rendition of “Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee.” This is one of the boys’ favorite songs because it involves both violence and mess-making, which is rare in children’s music. We arrived at the tragic moment when the bee stings the little kid and the bee’s life is tragically ended and here I quote the revised lyrics: “Oh! It stung me! It didn’t hurt. I’m setting free my baby bumblebee… Sorry, Mr. Bumblebee!” Are you kidding me? “It didn’t hurt”? Now I have swallowed a great deal of political correctness served up Sesame-Street-style in my days as a mom, but this takes the cake. I’ll take my burned grilled cheese and poor sportsmanship any day over this lie-to-the-children-because-the-truth-is-unpleasant bull hockey. Life is messy and, yes, sometimes painful, but without bee stings we wouldn’t have comforting hugs from Mommy. Without scraped knees, there would be no need for band-aids, which we all know make everything so much better.