I awoke this week to news that the US military had scrapped its ban on women in combat. I don’t know what took them so long. Not only are woman supremely qualified to defend their country, but as a mother, I have spent about ten years in basic training. Here’s what I can handle:
1. Leave no man behind: Last week, in a moment of weakness, M confessed to me that not only did he lose Fiona (4) when I was away last month, but that he also lost Sidney (2).
In downtown Seattle.
I know exactly how this happened. I have seen M walk with the children. Stroller-less, he walks among them, as one of the pack. Sometimes, he leads, sometimes he follows. But he always assumes the children are like ducklings, and that as long as they can see him, they will fall in line.
I don’t know the first bloody thing about ducks, but I know for sure that small human children will follow the shiniest, brightest thing they see, and if that’s a pedophile with some tin foil in his hands, so be it.
When I walk with the kids I make sure they are either bolted down, or that I have a hand on each of the little ones. In short, I let no man, or toddler, fall behind.
2. Mutiny/Insurgency: A daily occurrence. This week it took the form of me, in a rare moment of peace, listening to Candy’s Room in the kitchen while nursing a cup of tea.
As any Springsteen fan will tell you, Candy’s Room is a song that absolutely cannot be interrupted, especially not in the first seconds as it builds to a marvelous crescendo. My little darlings ran in to the kitchen, yanked out my iPod and replaced the Boss with some shitty song by a guy named Chris Brown who beats up Rihanna, makes awful music, and sounds like a girl.
I squashed that insurgency in seconds flat. With one hand. The kids may be limping for weeks, but they know better now.
3. Physical Endurance: Sometimes I think Sidney is being an impossible toddler in order to give me a daily reminder that I cannot, under any circumstances, have another baby. In short, she is a walking vasectomy.
But just getting through the rigors of pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy, only to be rewarded with toddlers who behave like enormous ticking time bombs, is proof that men hardly have a monopoly on physical endurance. Heck, I changed a diaper with my foot when a naked Sid took a monster crap in the Mediterranean in front of an army of French beach goers. You’d be lucky to have me in your platoon.
4. Friendly Fire: You don’t need to be a mother to know this one. Any woman will tell you that the harshest slings and arrows come from the people you thought were friends.
5. Psychological warfare: For real? I know I can handle this and I don’t even have teenagers yet. I am a bloody expert in reverse psychology (“Whatever you do, do NOT brush your teeth.”), and if properly caffeinated, I can outwit a toddler. Bring it on.
And as I’ve been writing about lately, we do daily combat on behalf of our kids. And each morning we wake up and do it all over again.
Uncle Sam, I’m yours.
Just don’t ask me to make any bloody lunches.