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Mommy’s Little Secret

Ottawa, May 2015
Ottawa, May 2015

Mark is an exceptional human being. A very special snowflake, the smartest and cutest kid around. From the minute I was pregnant (of course, I knew right away we had conceived!), I realized how lucky…—I was going to write “blessed” but as an atheist… oh, never mind—, truly blessed I was to carry this wonderful child. I spent nine blissful months in tune with my body and the baby’s needs, welcoming advice from helpful strangers and nesting. Once Mark was born, every single minute we spent together has been extremely fulfilling and I could never get enough of him.

What? No, I’m not drunk or stoned! I’m not possessed either, thanks for asking.

I’m just… you know, revisiting history. Let’s call it a “motherhood revisionism” exercise. Oh, fuck off, I won’t be the first one to tweak facts! Don’t get me start on media, governments, companies and selective omission. Eh, if it’s written, approved and published, it must be true, right?

So from now on, no more cursing, no more “this is me on motherhood, please take my kid away from me, I need a coffee or something stronger”.

I’m paranoid.

Mark is “reading”.

Don’t blame me, I can’t afford therapy. Oh, I can already picture the scene… Mark is jumping on a black leather couch, the expensive designer kind, not the latest IKEA model. The shrink, Sigmund, is sitting in a chair. “My mother hated being pregnant.” “Uh uh… easy on the couch, please.” “She also wrote she needed a break from me. Many times.” “Uh uh… can I have your banking information?” “Mommy said watching me play at the park was boring.” “Uh uh… let’s analyze this…”

I can’t let this happen.

Okay, Mark isn’t really reading yet. But it’s coming. And with my luck… I mean, given my amazing popularity, he is going to find my blog (he already browses my Flickr account to see “Mark’s pictures”) and he will learn everything.

Like, everything.

Honesty is so overrated.

Mark discovered numbers last winter and now he is obsessed with letters. He reads them out loud, one by one. Constantly. He spells out everything he sees—license plates, street signs, my t-shirts…

And of course, he loves books.

Before, reading to Mark was me holding the book and making up a story that fit my needs based on the pictures. Bedtime routine? Perfect, the characters gets ready to go to bed. I rarely followed the script, I adapted based on Mark’s vocabulary. And also, it’s hard to read when Mark is blocking half of the sentences with his fingers.

Now, reading, let’s say, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” goes like this:

“T!”

“W!”

“I!”

“K!”

“One?”

“No, it’s a ‘L'”.

“Why?”

“Because it’s… lowercase? Never mind. It’s a ‘L’, trust me, I’ve seen those many times.”

“L”.

“E”.

“Okay, the next word is the same, let’s move on…”

“No! T… W…I…”

You get the picture.

Of course, reading is complex process and Mark is only starting the adventure. He is decoding symbols but has yet to process and understand them. For instance, to him, two “ll” are the number “11” and he still find lowercase and uppercase confusing—”why?” he asked, when I swore “B” and “b” were the same thing.

With literacy comes knowledge, independence, critical thinking. I learned to read when I was three and a half and I clearly remember how, suddenly, the world made sense. A shop wasn’t just boring aisles and eye-level displayed products my mum wouldn’t buy. There were letters and words everything. That kept me entertained!

This was Mark at the supermarket the other day. He grabbed a cereal box and I braced myself for the fight. “A, B, C!” he read aloud. Sure enough, the box did say “A, B, C”. Okay, it was an easy one.

In a not-so-distant future, he will recognize words, understand sentences.

Maybe one day he will find my blog, if he can remember that my name is not “mommy”. The thought of it is strange. Before we found it entertaining to share slices of life with complete strangers were diaries, little notebooks safely hidden in a drawer. No one were supposed to read them. Especially not kids.

I’ve always been honest with Mark. Oh, sure, I trick him once in a while—the cookies aren’t actually sleeping, between us. But I usually tell him the truth. Yes, mommy is mad right now, yes, daddy is a little bit sick, yes, mommy is tired, no we don’t do that now, yes, we will go tomorrow. Yes, this hurts a little bit but not for long.Yes, this feeling is unpleasant, no this dog doesn’t want to play, yes there are chips here and no you can’t have them.

On the plus side, Mark seems to trust me. I don’t break promises. If I say we go to whatever place tomorrow, I actually take him there. If I say sometime doesn’t hurt, it truly doesn’t (unless he has nerves in his hair…?).

The downside is, well, reality is sometime unpleasant. People argue, fight, cry and you don’t always get what you want. Sometime, life isn’t fair. Sometime, people are strange. Sometime, it doesn’t make sense.

I hope Mark realizes that I love him, even if parenthood has been a roller-coaster and an adventure. I hope that by the time he is old enough to read something I wrote (and don’t forget to click on the ads honey, thanks!), he will see the love through the sarcasms, the occasional rants and the overall cluelessness.

“Mommy, what’s this?”

“This is… Word. I’m typing, see? Don’t touch the screen, your fingers are all sticky!”

“Mark writes.”

Or maybe he will write his own blog and bitch about me. So that we will be even.

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