The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

The Life Cycle of a Mother’s Praise

I walked in the door after circus class yesterday and the kids were in the living room watching TV and playing video games and crap like that.

“Hey, Mom. How was circus class?” they sort of collectively asked.

“It was pretty good,” I replied. “My instructor took a video of the level 1 routine on the trapeze that I’m working on, so I can see what I’m doing wrong and also remember the order of the tricks. Do you want to see it?”

“Sure,” they agreed and clustered around my chair while I played the video on my phone.

About a minute and 10 seconds into the three minute video, my oldest said, “Well, that’s cool, Mom,” and turned around to walk back to his computer.

“But… it’s not over,” I said, confused, pausing it. “Don’t you want to see the rest?”

“Does anything really exciting happen soon?” he asked, sincerely, although he could tell some kind of a misstep had been made, even if he didn’t know exactly what it was.

“It’s not that much longer… I guess nothing too exciting happens. I just thought you’d be interested enough to watch the whole thing,” I said, defensively.

“I’m bored, too,” said my youngest, also walking away.

“I said it was cool, Mom. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” said my oldest, with a tone of voice that sounded vaguely familiar, but one that I’m used to hearing somewhere else. Oh, right. It’s that one we use with my mom when she’s being overly sensitive.

My middle son, the intuitive one, stayed by my side and looked at me sweetly, ready for me to push play again. I’d confiscated his iPod for bad behavior the day before and he’d been working a suck-up angle all morning.

“You ungrateful little shits,” I wanted to say, “I’ve been staring with rapt attention at your every mundane movement since the day you were born! You know you’re not the first people to ever put one foot in front of the other, right? Do you really think learning to walk merited the kind of celebration I gave you? And eating your fucking vegetables? I practically throw a party when you do nothing but ingest food! Congratulations, it’s a biological necessity. And speaking of biological necessities, just FYI, I wasn’t really that proud of you when you started pooping on the toilet. I was just thrilled I wouldn’t have to handle your fecal matter any longer.

The soccer games where your shoe flew off and you ran away from the ball! The band concerts that could accurately be compared to the death rattle of an elderly elephant! All of these I not only endured, but was enthusiastic about!

And yet, when tasked with tolerating under three minutes of an activity I’m involved in, one that’s actually intended to have some intrinsic entertainment value and that I have been working my ass off to be halfway decent at, you are unable to muster even the slightest iota of interest? You. Are. Out. Of. The. Will.”

But I didn’t.

Instead, I emailed the video to my mother. She quickly replied back that I’m better than the instructor, I just don’t remember the order of the tricks as quickly.

I should have been nicer to her when I was a kid.


Here’s the video. You don’t want to watch it either, do you?

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