My open letter to the Moms of the World.
After some not-so-careful deliberation and an entire box of chocolate, I have formed my thoughts into, what I feel is, a fairly concise yet thorough statement. These are just a few ideas and suggestions regarding your future interaction with peers that may not share your specific ideology, but for reasons of geography and sanity must utilize the same parks as you. Thank you.
1.) Even if I did not arrive at the park via the summons of the same Meet-Up email from your "co-op playgroup," you can still talk to me or my children. I do not think that our mediocrity is contagious, but if it is, I think longer exposure is necessary for full-blown effects.
2.) If you do brave it and talk to me, loud demands of "How old?" in the general vicinity of me and my child is going to result in the answer "33, and you?" It is not my fault if you don't get it.
3.) Regarding the previous point, before launching into full out child comparison with me, you may want to consider some warm up questions or statements, such as "Nice weather." or "He's cute, what's his name?" or "My name is Perfect Mom, what's yours?" They will avoid sass and allow the conversation to progress beyond blank stares or lame pretending to not speak English.
4.) While I am thrilled that your child knows all the planets in the solar system and how to count to 100, you might want to consider including some manners into your home-school curriculum. At your discretion, of course.
5.) No, my 18-month-old is not walking, but he is very skilled at getting where he needs to go. You do not need to scream at your child to "watch the BABY!" every time my child is within 14 feet of yours. This is not having the desired effect; your child proceeds to startle at your voice and steps on my son as a result.
6.) I can see my toddler and have spent the last 3 and 1/2 years carefully gauging how far away from him I can be and still sprint there in record time. Plus, he waves at me about every 5 minutes with a "Mommy, mommy, look at me!" Your repeated flailing of arms and shouts of "Whose Child is this? Missing Child!" are not particularly helpful. Especially the 3rd or 4th time.
7.) Yes, my son is interested in princesses. My son. If your daughter comes to the park dressed in a complete Belle outfit, with a crown and matching shoes, he is going to try to talk to her. I believe the complete interaction was "What a pretty dress!" I don't feel that this necessitated her screaming or the loud shouting that he was a "weirdo," while running to you for "protection." Nor do I feel that your giggles where particularly appropriate. Sheer maturity forces me to refrain from telling my son that your daughter is a "weirdo" for showing up at the park in a dress-up dress in the middle of July.
8.) While we are on the subject of daughters, I fully endorse and support your interest in raising spirited, assertive young women. That said, if any of your daughters repeatedly punch my son again, and your response consists of permissive (and rather proud) looks, I will be putting her in a time-out myself. Fair warning.
9.) Yes, my son was eating a Dum-Dum. I now understand that your daughter has never had sugar and perhaps can even see how she was "carried away" by the presence of said Dum-Dum. (Although, and sorry for the digression, but to be logical about it, how would she even know what it was, never having had sugar...) Anyway, I still do not think that the mere presence of the sucker warranted her grabbing it out of my son's mouth and shoving it into hers. I suppose I understand your lack of apology, given your stance on sugar, and, by the way, thank you for the unsolicited lecture on its evils, but I will continue to periodically offer my child candy when and if I feel like it.
10.) I also want to thank you all for your loud discussion of no-sugar, gluten-free, organic brownies, with spinach. If I am ever in the mood for such an abomination, I will totally look up the website you mentioned.
11.) While we are on the topic of volume-control, you might want to alter yours when discussing the formula-feeding mother on the bench across the park. I am pretty sure she can hear you, but if you are really concerned that she is not aware of La Leche and the benefits of breast milk, it is much more polite to address those thoughts to her and not to your friends within her hearing. If you are thinking of approaching her, I will tell you now, she has probably struggled with and weighed her decision carefully and is really not in need of any rude and thoughtless comments from people who don't know her and her situation. Ditto regarding the other members of the infant trifecta; sleeping and diapering.
12.) Yes, I am aware of organic granola bars. I will continue to buy the ones that are on sale. And yes, I also know that I can make my own. Thank you and yes, yours do look delicious.
I suppose I could continue, but frankly, I am out of chocolate and need to change the DVD I have playing for my children right now. I will close by saying this: I respect you all as moms. I think being a parent is the hardest job in the world. We are daily wrestling with numerous decisions that ultimately add up to getting our children to adulthood successfully, with the least injuries and therapy bills possible. We all make different decisions along the way (many many different decisions, if today is any indication), and I will continue to respect and defend your right to make those decisions any way you chose. I would ask that you please respect my right to make mine. Thank you and good luck.
PS....Motherhood does not necessitate that you completely lose your sense of humor or ability to discuss things that are not your children's milestones. Just saying.....
Sigh, well, it looks like she is done. We return you to your regular programming and promise to tell you about Super Fetus' ultrasound super soon!