After all of these years of being a mother, I still forget how literally my children can take the things I say.
Last night, the plan was that I would come home from work, throw together a quick dinner and then we would all head to the pool for an evening swim.
What that meant for me was that in the span of an hour, between getting home from work and leaving for the pool, I needed to make dinner, do a few loads of laundry, clean up from dinner and do a quick run-through with the children to make sure that we have everything else picked up from the day so we would come home to a house that looks more like a F1 tornado has torn through it rather than an F5.
My organized plan was coming together nicely, I had the chicken in the oven, rice on the stove, the vegetables were sautéing up in a pan and I had the first load of laundry in the dryer and the second one in the washing machine. Yet, as I was busy accomplishing these tasks, one by one the kids came into the kitchen and each one seemed to have something that they “urgently” needed me to do.
“Mom – can you email the assistant principal at my school about my class schedule in the fall right now? Today is the deadline.”
“Mom, the dog ate a hole in my stuffed animal and I need you to sew it. Please do it now because the stuffing is falling out.”
“Mom, I can’t find my khakis that I have to wear to work tomorrow and if I can’t find them then we have to go buy a new pair.”
“Mom, can I please get a drink? I think I’m dying of thirst.”
You get the idea, everyone needed something and they needed it done right away. Finally I loudly said, “Listen, I am not an octopus. I cannot do eight things at once. So please everyone, just give me a second and I will do each of these things before we go to bed tonight, I promise. But let’s just focus on having dinner and getting to the pool first!”
Things calmed down, everyone pitched in and we had a great dinner and a fun time at the pool. Two hours later, I returned home with six happy children and we accomplished the sewing back together of stuffed animals, the discovery of the missing khakis, the emailing of the assistant principal and all of the other requests that had been placed earlier in the evening.
Once everyone was tucked into their beds, I happily got into mine to do a little reading before I fell asleep. I heard a little knock on the door and looked up to see my son Finn. He is my little snuggler, so I figured he was coming to climb in bed with me. But on this particular night he looked he had something serious on his mind.
He climbed into my bed and sat straight up and started his serious discussion with me.
“Mommy, do you know that we don’t really think you are an octopus?” he said.
I was confused for a second until I figured out that he was talking about my “I’m not an octopus, I don’t have eight arms” remark from earlier. I bit my lip to keep from giggling as he continued:
“Mommy, I know all about what an octopus is and you aren’t one. First, you don’t have eight arms, you only have two and even if you used your legs, that would only be four,” he said with complete seriousness. “And you don’t live in the ocean because if you were a real octopus and lived on land you would die, because an octopus can’t breathe outside of the ocean.”
“You know what Finn? You are right, you are so smart. Mommy could never be an octopus,” I confirmed.
“Plus,” he added, “an octopus is slimy and you aren’t. You have soft, squishy skin.”
And with that he kissed me on the cheek, said good night and returned to his bed.
I think I laughed for two hours straight thinking about what he had said. Someday I will miss the precious days of them being so young that they take some of the things I say literally. But for tonight I am going to delight in the fact that my sweet little boy loves me enough to let me know that I am not an octopus!
Share your precious parenting moments and words of wisdom with Blythe at firstname.lastname@example.org.