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Power struggles … Only not the kind you’re thinking July 27, 2010

Posted by Erin F. Wasinger in Being a mama.

Dave was out on the AirVenture grounds late, which means the 5:30 scheduled pick-up from the sitter’s turned into a 6 p.m. pick-up, and by the time the three of them swung back around downtown to the office to pick me up it I was about to just bunch my jacket under my head and sleep under my desk.

Alice screamed “MAMA!!!”, with three exclamation points, as I hopped in the car but I could tell by the dark circles under her eyes that any conversation I might try to start with her held verbal land mines. I tested this theory, anyhow, and lobbed a comment about changing into pajamas; she shrieked “NO MAMA! NO JANNIES!”

Do I know my verbal landmines or what. What.

This continued every step of the way inside the house: No, she didn’t want Daddy to take her out of her carseat; she wanted Mama. She didn’t want Daddy to help her up the stairs into the house; she wanted to hold Mama’s hand. She didn’t want Daddy to put the pot on the stove for ravioli, she wanted Mama to do it.


By the time I scooped Violet out of her carseat to feed her Alice was in hysterics: “MAMA NO VI-YIT. MAMA UP! ALCIE HOWLD MAMA!” I tried to ignore her with the good-natured smile because what am I if not good natured, RIGHT, but the kid just couldn’t handle life at that moment. She flung herself on the ground and wailed into the wood floor until Dave lured her to the table with ravioli.

I fed Violet in the recliner we’d shoved in the corner of the dining room (see also: We need a bigger house; and Oh this? I live like this, yes) as Alice and Dave silently ate; when Dave was done, we swapped duties — he held the content Violet, I got the touch-and-go Alice … who had just finished her last ravioli.

And had her eyes on my full plate.

Cue shark music.

You know on nature shows when the gazelle realizes it’s about to watch a predator yank its dinner from beneath its nose?

Well. This time the gazelle won.

I stared at my own ravioli — the now-cold, kind of pasty-looking ravioli laying on my plate in the most unappetizing heap ever. And I never wanted anything so much.

I knew — I did, I did know this, that it was our fault that Alice was so peeved: We worked too late, she ate dinner late, it was past her bedtime, and Dave never, ever makes enough ravioli.

“MORE AVIOLI!” Alice screamed, pointing to my plate.

“Dave. Tell me you have more ravioli on the stove.”

“No ..,” he said, backing away slowly. Land mines exploded in my head.

“David. DAVID.”

“MORE AVIOLI!!!!!” More exclamation points.

I sat down in front of the plate. I looked at her tired, teary blue eyes. Back to my ravioli. Back to her eyes. Back to my ravioli — and then I freakin’ ate it.

I did. I ate it. I ate it while she screamed at me. It was cold and it came apart in pasty bits in my mouth.

Dave — tired from being on the AirVenture grounds all day, working — handed me Violet to take on toddler damage control.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked over her screaming.

“I don’t know!” I shrieked, shoving ravioli in my mouth. More darling, I’m sure.

The best mother would’ve shared. A patient mother would’ve at least explained why sharing was out of the question. Another mother would’ve hidden the ravioli until bedtime and then reheated it.

But I am not those mothers.

I am the mother who eats the cold, lumpy ravioli because I WAS HUNGRY. Because I’d just worked 10 1/2 hours, because the world can be a cold, callous place when a mom’s tired, and because I’m teaching her that sometimes there just isn’t enough ravioli. Dave will never make enough ravioli.

“All I’m sayin’ is you’d better eat that whole plate,” Dave said a few minutes later as Alice stared at me coldly, wiping her tears with the back of her hand, pity graham cracker in hand.

“Watch me.”



1. Stinky Lou - July 30, 2010

Laugh? I thought I’d die.

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