This past summer, my children became obsessed with a little book series called “Captain Underpants.” It’s a bunch of illustrated children’s novels that takes potty humor to the next level. Which meant I was giggling right alongside my children because I’m really just two 6-year-old’s standing on each other’s shoulders in a fashionable trench coat pretending to be an irresponsible adult.
Oh, how cute, I’d think to myself every time I’d see my 6-year-old with his nose buried inside one of the 200-plus page books. He’s pretending to read them. Like a Big People! He even went so far as to occasionally ask me what a word.
“What’s this word say, Momma?”
So. Adorable. Until the day I realized he was ACTUALLY reading these books. We were getting ready for our nightly storytime and I turned to chapter four, where we had left off the evening before.
“Oh no, Momma. We’re passed that,” he said as he grabbed the book and started flipping toward the back. “We’re here.”
Here being chapter 20.
“No, love. We only read the first three chapters last night,” I patiently replied as the wise and worldly mother than I am. Kids are so enchantingly dumb, am I right?
Then my tiny human, who was a baby only yesterday, summarized chapters four through nineteen.
“Wait, you can really read?” I asked in a voice so incredulous that even a recently graduated kindergartner could pick up on it.
I was floored. Then elated. Reading has always been more than a hobby to me. It is life itself. It has shaped who I am and what I do. In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than sitting down, grabbing a book and spending hours hallucinating stories on the dead souls of trees. And to think that my son is now setting forth on this same incredible journ…
AND OMG OH CRAP DAMMIT CRAP.
My son can read. And apparently pretty well already. He’s probably going to be reading big words any day now. Big words like “butthead.” As in that one column I wrote where I called him a butthead. Or that one when I was pregnant with him and I called him a swamp demon. (And that was the nicest thing I called him during pregnancy).
He’s going to read about how I always stole his chicken nuggets when he was a toddler and then gaslighted (gaslit?) him into believing he ate them all. And he’s now going to know I don’t know the correct past tense of gaslight.
There was the column that explains how I violated child labor laws and the one that mocks him for not learning how to crawl sooner. He’s going to know just how lazy of a mother I really am. And how much I actually drink. AND THE SECRET LOCATION OF MY EMERGENCY CHOCOLATE.
And now his SISTER is now in PRESCHOOL. Where they will also likely teach her how to read with no regard for how it affects me.
Oof. I can picture it now. When my children realize the full implications of having a humor columnist for a mother.
Them: What made you think you could write about us?
Me: Thirty-six hours of labor? A jacked up bladder? The fact you gave me a mystery bruise on my thigh when you were a toddler and it still hasn’t gone away?
Them: Well, did you at least make a lot of money by exploiting your children?
Me: *super awkward pause*
Them: YOU’RE NOT EVEN RICH AND FAMOUS!?
Me: I am rich…in love. Wait! No, come back. Come on. Kids? KIDS?
Not to mention that now that they know, they’re probably going to catch onto my methods pretty quickly.
*during big family fight while having Thanksgiving dinner*
“Mom! Are you taking notes right now?”
*me, peeking from behind my laptop*
*while having THE TALK with them*
“MOM! Are you live tweeting this!?”
*me, peeking from behind my cell phone*
*dad falls off ladder & needs an ambulance*
“Mom, call 911!”
“Already on it, honey! …now listen, Sharon, did you say your name was? I’m going to need a full transcript of this call. Just want to make sure I get all the details correct later. Right, so, first of all, the sound he made, like the yell Goofy does when he falls from distant heights. You know. A-Hoo-Hoo-Hoo. Freaking hysterical!”
In the end, I think I’ll just explain it to them this way: No matter how much you love your children, every parent occasionally thinks and says ridiculous things about their own offspring. But only a select few of us are dumb enough to write it all down and put it on the Internet. And unfortunately, your mother is just that dumb. And while what you post on the Internet theoretically lasts forever, thus potentially ruining your lives, what if– and just hear me out here, kids– I make it up to you with a selection from my emergency chocolate collection?