You’re doing it wrong!

Let me just say that never once has daycare called to say, “Hey, that’s a fine boy you’re raising there! Good work!” or “Golly, we wish every child here was just like your son.” They call with things like, “Your son spit in his teacher’s face. Again.” and “He seems particularly aggressive toward Ms. J.” (poor woman is mild mannered and soft-spoken; she never stood a chance.) You can pretty much be sure that your parenting is going to be generally derided when they begin a conversation with, “We really need you to….”

That’s why I was certain that nothing good was going to come from the note handed to me when I picked him up today, labeled “To the parents of…” I was right. Apparently, I’m not potty training Monkey Boy properly. Just throw that on the pile of things I’m doing wrong, according to those who feel the need to voice such opinions. I’m too hard on him; I’m too lenient with him; I’m feeding him the wrong food/ not enough/ too much; He’s not getting enough sleep; His clothes are inappropriate; He needs a haircut; I forgot picture day/snack day/ teacher appreciation day. It’s enough to make you crazy enough to climb a ladder to the roof and refuse to come down without the guarantee of chocolate.

When I start to really question my fittness as a mother, I comfort myself with a conversation the husband and I had right after he was born, but before we took possesion from the adoption agency. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He asked me kindly, but directly, “OK, what exactly are you afraid of here?” I told him I was terrified that our birth mother was not going to sign and we would not get him, and I was equally terrified that she would sign and then we would have to raise this baby.

He looked at me with a completely serious face and said, “Look, crack whores do it every day. And you gotta think that we’ll be better than that.” I wanted to scream at him that was not the standard! but I started laughing so hard, I couldn’t. But there are days, I’m at least partially convinced that the crack whores are able to remember when it’s their turn to bring the cookies.

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