I’m sitting on the sofa with Nick before school. I’m an amazing mom, so he’s reading a chapter book to me while a late Beethoven string quartet plays quietly in the background. There are no pictures in the book; I like to encourage him to use his imagination. To improve his sensory balance and help keep his voice moist, he’s sucking on a homemade rosemary-lavendar lozenge, and he has a glass of lemon-vinegar water nearby to sip at. I’ve dabbed some homemade essential oils behind his ears as well, which I made from harvested and dried black-eyed susans, echinacea, and wild leeks that grow in our yard.
As I listen to Nick read, I’m knitting a brushed organic cotton baby blanket in an open lace pattern while slowly flipping through a large print collection of French impressionists on my lap. In moments like these, we practice mindful breathing and good posture, so I’m in the lotus position. That print collection fits perfectly in my lap.
I don’t think so.
* * * * *
I’m sitting on the sofa with Nick before school. He’s playing a battling game on his iPad. I’m checking emails and browsing Facebook on my phone. We are slouched down so low that our spines are shaped like the underside of a Viking boat, and our heads are bent forward at the neck at ninety-degree angles. I’m doing coffee bongs.
I look over at Nick and think to myself how cute he looks, so I mutter, “I love you, Nick.”
Nick looks back at me and snickers.
“Mommy, I have something to tell you that is really, really gross.”
I don’t speak. I feel anxiety right at the roots of my abdomen. I’m not sure I want him to continue.
“Do you want to hear it, mommy?”
“Okay, so when I was playing in the snow at school — this is so gross!”
He giggles for a few moments while I wait.
“I picked up some snow… And there was GOOSE POOP IN IT! Isn’t that so gross? Don’t you think that’s totally gross?”
I do. I think that is totally gross. All I can articulate, however, is this: “Uuuuuuugh.”
I’m thinking hard about the gloves I’ve been touching repeatedly this snowy weekend. The gloves that have played with goose poop.
“So then I said, ‘AAAAGH’ and I dropped it! And then I wiped my gloves off and kept playing. Does that gross you up, mommy?”
I finally find speech. “Yes Nick, that really grosses me out. That is so totally gross. It’s disgusting.” I make a gross-out face. I’m not faking.
Nick is suddenly cheerful and extremely giggly. He starts bopping in place, his head swaying back and forth like a hippy as he chants melodically, “I grossed my mommy up, I grossed my mommy up, I grossed my mommy up…”
I listen for a few minutes before stepping in. I speak clearly and didactically, because I have a job to do as Nick’s mom. “We don’t say gross mommy up, Nick. We say ‘gross mommy OUT.‘”
Nick nods cheerfully and ignores me. But at least we’ve started the day out right with a lesson in proper use of idiomatic speech.
I’m an amazing mom.