Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Big Kid Known as Mommy

Kids keep you young, they say.

But sometimes mommy activities drag me back towards my youth no farther than the teen years.

Mia sits on my lap, laughing at the photographs of tiny animals on the Cute Overload website. With the obnoxiousness of a bored fifteen year old, I type in the Comments section, in all caps, the most obvious statement about each picture: "THE RAT IS HOLDING A CHEERIO!" "THE FERRET HAS A FEZ ON HIS HEAD!" "HE'S A DUCK! AND HE'S SITTING ON THE CAT!" I pretend I'm a wide-eyed rube with an over-bite, pointing at the funny on the screen.

Or, like a sarcastic and sardonic high schooler, I find double meaning in Nora's bedtime story, "Where is Baby's Mommy?" When the narrator asks, "Is she in the closet?" I imagine a recently out, and consequently, newly single, lesbian mommy. When the next page asks, "is she under the table?" I imagine her new drinking habit. At "Is Mommy behind the shower curtain?" I picture the little toddler discovering her there last week with "Aunt Sheila." The "alternate" reading starts to take over in my mind. By the time we get to "Is she under the covers? Yes!" how can you not feel sympathy for this little guy with the slightly depressed mom, adjusting to her new wild lifestyle?

The message of this book is no longer just a simple tale of hide and seek, it's a whole expose of the cover-ups and silly explanations we use when caught in grown up situations. "Oh honey, we're just playing!"

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