Every day, I yell. A lot. Surely I'm not the only cool mom who is tired of listening to her own (loud) voice? It's exhausting to scream all the time, but unfortunately that's what it takes in my house to get my kiddo to cooperate. And there is one sore spot that tends to make me go all Jersey Shore on my kid: manners. "Excuse me" in particular.
As I'm sure most of you cool moms tell your kiddos: if the grown-ups are talking, simply say "excuse me," and your voice will be heard. Also, please remember to say this teeny-tiny phrase after bodily functions. This is such a fight in my house that my son has actually been in time-out for 30 minutes because he refused to say excuse me after a burp. His solution? Invent a new form of the phrase-- something that sounds like "excuse-us you-sus"-- just so that neither of us can win the dang argument. Hello, Harvard Law. Meet my son. (And give him a scholarship.)
Why is it that my child can be happily playing with his iPod (I know what you're thinking. But you try coming up with something else to entertain a 5 year-old lawyer. Seriously. E-mail me.), but the minute I try to have a phone conversation or use the computer, he needs my attention? And because he is so incredibly averse to the whole "excuse me" thing, he has chosen this route to get me to notice him: "Brrring! Brrring! Mommy, mommy!" Want to know what that charming sound attached to my name is? An alarm. I would punish him, but he makes a different noise every time. So at least he's being creative.
But alas, I was not blessed with the virtue of patience (quick wit and fart jokes must overpower that section of my brain), and I can only take so much. The little guy recently announced the obvious: "Mommy, all you do is yell at me." Oh, good, so it's not just me that feels this way? I mean, I only get so much time off of work. Do I really want to spend it acting like a contestant on Flavor of Love?
Maybe it's not just my kid. At the dinner table with a group of friends last month, one 3 year-old belted out this gem: "Excuse me! Excuse me! When my mom is mad at me, she says 'dammit'!" Well. At least he used his manners, right? (Which is more than I can say for the alarm currently echoing from my child's mouth. Did I mention that he has climbed onto my lap and put his nose directly in front of mine while sounding his charming air-raid siren? He's so close I can smell his earwax. Sidenote: when I asked him what was so important, he said, "Get your eyeballs off the computer and put them on ME." Only-Child Syndrome, anyone?)
I guess I just have to face the facts: I can do long division, change a tire (when you have to call AAA so often that they are on speed-dial, you tend to pick up a few things. Seriously, do the nails throw themselves in front of my tires?), and got through 4 years of college without studying. But mastering manners and motherhood? Well, that's why God invented wine.