The other day I was talking to the mom of one of Super Kindergartener's classmates. I just want to preface this by saying that I really like this woman; she is nice, nonjudgmental, and not braggy in any way. However, she is a very experienced mom of four and somethings just sneak on out. She was telling me about her son's Karate lesson, her daughter's speech therapy, something about a color-coded calendar, this insurance thing, the code that is used in the school district for something something, something, and suddenly I am nodding along to a monologue that appears to be in an alien tongue of some kind. For about 10 minutes (which felt like 8 years), I rolled along on the swells and drops of this conversation and tried not to drown. I barely kept my head above the water, and I am pretty sure I swallowed some seaweed.
I should know what she is talking about. I am no Greenhorn Mom, believing everything Baby Center says and still boiling my baby's pacifier when it falls out of her mouth. (Germaphobes out there, no judging from this corner. Do what you gotta do.) This is not my first rodeo; I am gearing up to join Experienced Mom in the ranks of the moms of four and yet I am standing here, completely lost while she talks about something related to medical exceptions on this form that I wasn't sure I needed. Or wanted. And to make matters worse, she seemed well aware that it was dress-down-day; her son was sporting jeans and a school t-shirt, while Super Kindergartener was shifting uncomfortably, and occasionally glaring up at me, in his uniform khakis and button-up oxford knit. I haven't gotten one dress-down-day right in 2 and a half months, and it is starting to feel like they happen weekly. If the mere dress-down-day is beyond me, I don't really know how I am going to figure the rest of this stuff out. I could ask Experienced Mom, but I seem to have swallowed too much seaweed from her monologue; seaweed that is feeling mysteriously like pride, but I am choosing to ignore that for the moment.
I went crying to Awkward Dad and this happened:
Awkward Dad: What was she talking about?
Me: That's just it! I don't know! I should know. I should know all of it by now; he is going to be 6 in February. We are moving off one-handed-age-counting. This is serious, and I don't know ANY of it.
Awkward Dad: You know lots of things.
Me: Stupid things. Not mom things. Not important paper insurance coded things.
Awkward Dad: Shush. You are doing fine. Super Kindergartener read that book all by himself last night.
Me: It was called Zombies in Love! I don't think we should be bragging about that one. Honey, I can't do this. I see other moms every day. EVERYDAY! I can't fake this forever. They are gonna find me out and kick me out and then where will we be? Our children will be social pariahs and they will fall in with bad people and not go to college and play bass in some crappy band, not like a good one, but a really awful one with some sweaty shirtless lead singer, and we'll have to go to these seedy bars to support them and it will be gross and awful and what will my mother think and and and...
Awkward Dad: Look at me. You are spinning out a little here. Answer me this; how did the Trojan War start?
Awkward Dad: How did the Trojan War start?
Me: Myth or not?
Awkward Dad: You chose.
Me: Well, Paris took a fancy to Menelaus' girl and spirited her off to Troy. Or you could go further back to that apple argument that Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite had. Either way, Agamemnon had his brother's back, but apparently not his wife's, sacrificed his daughter, and sailed off to Troy.
Awkward Dad: Right. And how many muses are there?
Me: Nine. Zeus got around. Everyone knows that.
Awkward Dad: Uh huh. How many books are you reading right now?
Me: Four. What are you getting at?
Awkward Dad: What's your favorite movie?
Me: What genre?
Awkward Dad: Never mind that now. How many movies have you seen?
Me: There is no way I know that. Hundreds. Thousands. What are you getting at?!
Awkward Dad: Wait for it.....who won the first Oscar for Best Actor?
Me: Emil Jennings.
Awkward Dad: For what film?
Me: That isn't how they did it then, but his body of work that year was The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh, which sounds way sexier than it actually is.
Awkward Dad: Could you make meatloaf for dinner?
Me: I guess, but that is what I was gonna make on Thursday.
Awkward Dad: So, there is a menu for the week?
Awkward Dad: And you did all the shopping, like usual with the ads and coupons and like 8 stores to get the best deals?
Me: Yes. All the Thanksgiving stuff is going on sale, so baking stuff is cheap. Where are you going here?
Awkward Dad: Who is Spiderman's secret identity?
Me: Are you serious? I am in a bad enough mood as it is.
Awkward Dad: Erin.....
Me: (Sigh.) Peter Parker in body, but he is technically Dr. Octopus with some subconscious of Peter still hanging around. However, there is a theory that Peter Parker's mind is actually in Norman Osborn. It is all crap and I don't want to talk about it.
Awkward Dad: But you understand it.
Me: As well as anyone understands such wacky pseudo-science, I guess. Fine. Your point?
Awkward Dad: Could you sew this hole in my pants?
Awkward Dad: Did you balance the checkbook today?
Awkward Dad: Because you do that everyday, right? And have these incredible detailed lists of all our bills and debts.
Me: Ugh, don't remind me of our debts, but yes.
Awkward Dad: What kind of animal is this?
Me: You're insane. That's a stuffed animal.
Awkward Dad: Erin....
Me: It's a Skink. Which is a lizard.
Awkward Dad: Who was the 14th president of the United States?
Me: Franklin Pierce.
Awkward Dad: Who wrote Macbeth?
Me: Are you serious? Shakespeare.
Awkward Dad: Fine. Who kills Macbeth?
Me: Macduff, but Macbeth killed his wife and kids, so I mean, he was kinda asking for it, if you ask me.
Awkward Dad: And who wrote Macbeth, the opera?
Awkward Dad: Name 5 other Verdi operas.
Me: I know what you are doing. It's sweet, but it doesn't disprove my point.
Awkward Dad: Humor me.
Me: Aida, Falstaff, Rigoletto, Nabucco, and, your favorite, Ernani.
Awkward Dad: Don't even joke about that loony thing. Stupid horn of death....
Me: This means nothing. All of this won't help them survive in life. So I know a little bit about a lot of really pointless nerdy things.
Awkward Dad: I don't think the opera fans would appreciate being called nerds.
Me: This arcane stuff isn't going to help our children.
Awkward Dad: I think having a well-rounded mother is the best thing to help you survive in life. And you just used the word arcane in an everyday conversation, by the way.
Me: But I am not well-rounded. I am like a playdough ball with a big thumb hole where my mom-knowledge should be.
Awkward Dad: That is a really cool metaphor.
Me: It's really more of a simile. But thank you.
Awkward Dad: By the way, what is the difference between a metaphor and a simile?
Me: I could think of a few for you right now....Awkward Dad is as annoying as this pain I have in my....
Awkward Dad: You are a kind, thoughtful, loving person who cares deeply for the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental health of our children. That is enough right there. But you are also totally well-rounded and wonderfully smart and articulate and well versed in the ways of the world that our children are entering. What you didn't understand about what Experienced Mom was talking about, which sounded mostly like insurance forms and schooling codes that are bound to change format by next week, you will learn if you have to. You just haven't had to yet.
Awkward Dad: Stop. There is no but. There are only ands. You are smart. And funny. And weird. And handy. And wonderful. And flawed. And gorgeous. And somewhat bored by insurance forms. And a wonderful wife. And a truly experienced mother. And you are gonna write about this, aren't you? I can see it in your eyes. Why are you crying?
Me: Those are happy tears, you big adorable wonderful infuriating oaf.
Awkward Dad: Make me look all wise and witty, like you usually do.
Me: I'll do what I can.
Not that I have to do too much at all; he really is that wise and witty. On another note, Experienced Mom might not be braggy, but I am feeling super braggy with this post. Does it help that I didn't actually say these things about myself? That I just recorded them down to look at the next time I am mom-drowning? Probably not, but whatever. Sometimes a little brag is needed, I suppose. Let's not make a habit of it though, shall we? It isn't like I am Perfect Mom or something.
And she's back.
Awkward Dad is available for pep talks from 8-10pm nightly.
Or by appointment.
Seriously, call. He is very very good at it.