Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

If It Walks Like A Mother, and Talks Like A Mother....

Then it must be...

Duh. A mother.

I was at Starbucks the other morning, in line with The Dictator getting a coffee before dropping her off at camp, when I overheard this conversation between a mother and her three year old.

Mommy: "Don't touch that!"

Mommy: "Don't touch that!"

Mommy: "Don't touch that!"

Mommy: "Don't touch that!!!!!!!"

Ok, it really wasn't so much a "conversation" as it was one mother, also with a baby in her arms, demanding every two seconds that her three year old stop touching things.

I mean, I totally got it. First, this mother had two kids with her. Second, she hadn't had a coffee yet. Third, her three year old was touching everything. Ok, I don't get that really.

I mean, it's Starbucks for godssake, otherwise known as stroller central. Starbucks is THE place for new mothers to hang out in, and bored mothers to hang out in, and, well, let's just say there's one Starbucks in Toronto, on Avenue Rd (you know the one I mean?) which, I swear to god, men go to oogle the all the yummy mommies who hang there.

Anyway, I got that this mommy had her hands full. But I was still freaking inside. I mean, do I sound like that? DO I SOUND LIKE THAT????

I NEVER want to sound like that. Of course, I know I do. But, mostly, it's when I'm trying to get The Dictator ready for bed, which is now a 30-minute or 50-minute process.

I sound something like this:

"Put your leg in this one! NO THIS ONE! Ok, now put the other leg in. NO THE OTHER ONE. Great. Now put the first one back in. NOW GET THE OTHER LEG BACK IN. Ok, we're going to start this again. First leg please! FIRST LEG! GIVE ME A LEG. ANY LEG DEAR GOD GIVE ME A LEG!!!!!!"

In public, where people have stopped me on the street to ask if that's "The" Rowan, I prefer the bribing method. You know, "If you come in here with me, I'll give you a present," so I won't ever yell at her.

No, I don't feel bad about this, because I can buy The Dictator off by handing her a straw, or giving her a cup or napkin. The gal comes cheap. And, really, like I've always maintained, I'll pick the big battles, not the little ones.

Plus, how do you reason with a two year old? The other day I tried to explain how mommy really needed to run into the magazine store, for five seconds, to get Vanity Fair so I could read about Hilary Swank. I tried to reason with her, but, quite frankly, she doesn't really listen to reason. (She came in with me, and her "present" was a free pamphlet.)

In any case, The Dictator is usually pretty good in public. So I don't have to always tell her, "Don't' touch that! Don't touch that! Don't touch that!"

But, who knows what the hell I sound like. The only way I would know is to carry around a tape recorder.

But I'm too afraid of what I'd hear.


Blogger Jennifer P said...

While stuck in a crummy hotel in Taber this week, I got sucked into Nanny 911. OMG, I hope me or my kid NEVER turns out like any of the freaks on that show. Plus, thanks for your mommy blogger in the Globe on Saturday -- I'mve got a Future MILF shirt on order. But I'm changing it to say Fat Now, MILF Soon. -- JP

10:43 PM

Blogger Food Mum said...

Maybe you could use the tape recorder, then after you'd said it once you could rewind and replay! The novelty would maybe make her pat attention the first few times, or maybe just get completely distracted onto playing with the tape recorder instead.

12:29 AM

Blogger sunshine scribe said...

I remember the first time my son imitated me and I realized how I sounded. Let's just say it wasn't pretty!

My guy comes cheap too though. He's good in public because I deploy the same strategy you use. Picking the battles is the key.

4:13 AM

Blogger chichimama said...

It gets much, much harder to not sound like that in public with two. Take the limited patience and spread it between two children who insist that they MUST wear sweaters and turtlenecks in July and by the time you make it to Starbucks and all you want is your coffee...well, anyway I'm just saying :-).

But I also fully believe that is why there are strollers and snacks...Yes, I bribe with food. If my children end up fat or with eating disorders, it is all my fault.

4:25 AM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I know that Starbucks. And the one or two dozen other ones that attract the same crowd.

And I know what you mean. I hear myself sometimes - no, no, no, NO, NO, NO, no - and I cringe.

But what can you do? Really?

7:15 AM

Blogger York Region Baby said...

it's all about picking you battles, which i am learning on a daily want to run around the playroom with you shirt halfway off... fine... sometimes it not worth the fit

**shameless plus here - Rebecca will be featured on my site and we are doing a Q & A in August - please see for more info and send in your Qs


9:31 AM

Blogger Pendullum said...

I get that feeling, of sounding like a mom and then LOOKING like haggard the end of the day...
With a bit of food stuck somewhere on me...
Our shirt a bit wrinkled beacause of a full on 'I need a hug momment' , the piece of artwork that somehow fell into my lap so I have a beautiful green mess on a white skirt, the playdoh stained fingernails...
Ohhh... I paint a pretty picture of myself don't I???
I'm living the dream...

9:51 AM

Blogger Drea said...

haha thats funny.
Just dont scream at your child in public and I think you'll be ok.
I hate moms who scream at their children and make their children feel ashamed but also makes themselves look like wackos.

i responed 2 your sleeping comment on my blog :-)

10:57 AM

Blogger Ali said...

oh, i'm a huge believer in picking battles.
and i'm also a huge believer in bribery.
the thing kids are pretty well behaved in public, pretty f'in awesome actually.
it's at home where they are absolute loons.

i frequent the yonge and centre starbucks (WAY up north in the suburbs) but it's the same there. lots of yummy mommy ogling happening around there too.

12:12 PM

Blogger Kristin said...

We were at a party the other week and I promise you, if I heard, "EMMA!" once, I heard it a hundred times.

2:52 PM

Blogger metro mama said...

I probably sound like....

"Cakes. careful! shi..ooot. gentle! please." *sigh*

7:24 PM

Anonymous Naomi said...

My son is at the mimic stage. It's quite humourous, until, well, it isn't. I'm worried about what it will be like with two!

Oh, and I've found giving him his "snack trap" will keep him from melting down for at least 5 or 10 minutes!

7:57 PM

Blogger Annie, The Evil Queen said...

Our deck shares a wal with our neighbors and I often wonder what they think of my one-sided conversations with the boy. "No" is probably the word I use the most lately, even though I wish it wasn't. You can only baby-proof just so many things. I really try to just keep him contained in public. But he's only 14 months old. I'm sure my bigger challenges lie ahead.

10:10 PM

Anonymous Kvetch said...

I just found your blog through Sunshine Scribe. Ah yes, reprimanding children in public is one of the inherent joys and treacheries of motherhood. Just wait until you hear yourself saying, "You can not burn paper and roll it across the neighbor's lawn on a skateboard." Or whatever.

6:05 AM

Blogger Petite Mom Blogger said...

I'm sure I sound like that OFTEN> What else can I do? My 5 year old does GREAT but the 2 yr old...not so great...and I usually try to buy them off too...

7:10 AM

Blogger Sara Bingham said...

Also a huge believer in picking your daughter is just about to turn 4 and she has a mind of her own. I'm not sure when we started talking about the "pajama police" but here's what we do....I struggle to get clothes off...she tries to do gymnastics on the bed naked...I struggle to get pajamas on...she tries to do gymnastics on the bed naked...sssshh, quiet, what's that?....she stops and listens intently with me...oh, no the pajama police are coming...quick get them on!...we both chant in a hurry "the pajama police are coming! the pajama police are coming!...and pajamas are on! yeah! :)

9:34 PM

Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Yes, they touch everything. Especially stuff that we mommies can't possibly understand WHY they'd want to touch it. Which is why I don't take the girls to Starbucks - if I'm going to spend $4 on a coffee, then I'll be damned if I spend that time corraling kids.

But I know I sound ridiculous, with all the no no no no no. Such is life.

5:09 PM

Anonymous Mum downunder said...

Everything seemed to be going great at the doctors office the other day until we were about to leave and High maintenance did NOT want to leave. She's 3 turning 4 in October and is very self opinionated. She was very tired and was refusing to leave because she was having a blast playing with the basket of toy's in the doctors office. After using my very stern and serious voice which did not seem to work at all, I then switched gear (and tone, my high pitched pretend to be excited one) and made a game out of leaving and got very excited which in turn flowed onto High maintenance. I must admit sometimes I feel like such a dork trying to avoid World War 3. Although I do amaze myself with the sort of crap I get excited about these days. But for me, I hate repeating myself over and over again, so I try to come up with things that distract them away from the situation.
That said - a good bribe never hurt no one ;)

5:50 AM

Blogger crazymumma said...

Unfortunately, I think we have all sounded like that Mother at times...I certainly know I have.
And bribes and treats are how I get thru my day, my night , my life. It works...what more can i say..Anne

10:06 PM

Blogger Bon Appetit! said...

The joys of negotiating with a two year old... My daughter seems to be a master negotiator. She stands her ground... can only be distracted by the "good stuff" (toys, food and mommy's purse) and usually has me crying for "mercy" or racking my brain for alternate compromises.

6:05 PM


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