I spent the afternoon hovering. Correcting. Redirecting. Bargaining. Sweating.
You know, all of the things you should be doing at a child’s birthday party.
I vacillated between trying to be cool and mingle with fellow parents and hoping that no one noticed that my child hadn’t stopped running since the moment we entered the room. An hour ago.
I had gotten cocky.
Just the day before, we made a triumphant return back to creative movement (our first adventure wasn’t the greatest) and I was feeling like I had turned into a cool, calm and collected mother of two that was unflappable in a room full of toddlers.
I found out quickly, that is not me at all.
The mom that I am is internally stressed, evidenced by my strained smile and forehead sweat. I want so badly to sit back and watch my kid play. But, the second he misbehaves, I am quick to correct and divert. I don’t want other parents to think I’m a lazy or bad parent. I give other parents so much more grace than I give myself.
Sit and talk to our classroom’s parents while the kids figure it out? Sure, as long as my child is sitting on their bottom while the nice clown is holding court. If he’s running in a continual lap for an hour and not buying any of the magic tricks (way to go kid, you know she’s hiding that red scarf up her sleeve – just PLEASE sit down and don’t pull it out until she gets to her punch line), I’m the hottest mess. And when they start balloon sword fighting. Just stop. I actually said “you only get to sword fight with people who also have swords.”
I just want to be cool. So badly. I know that toddlers are little wild cards. That we’ve all been there. But in the moment, my blood pressure immediately rises. My hair frizzes. My cheeks get hot. Everyone in the room is the parent of a toddler, but I get so embarrassed.
Especially when the clown tells me that she’s never painted the face of a wigglier kid (gee, thanks) and thinks that he’s appropriately named. Yes, I see you laughing. Yelling “Dash” as a little blond moptop sprints past is poetic.
He better run high school cross country.
By then, I’ll probably have my blood pressure under control. Maybe.
photo credit: Dana Giacofci Clark