When I became a mom three years ago, I quickly realized that this job requires proficiency at a large and varied number of skills. Changing diapers without getting drenched, holding my breath for five minutes while I empty the diaper garbage, patting my head while rubbing my belly in a circular motion, you get the drift. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized the most valuable skill I could ever have as a mom is the ability to act like a sleeping zoo animal.
No joke, I am required by my children to use this skill multiple times a day, every day without fail. The two primary locations in which it is demanded are the kitchen and the bathroom. In the kitchen, here is what goes down: I put a well-balanced and delicious meal in front of Addy and Zack containing a fruit, a vegetable, a protein and pasta. They transform into vacuum cleaners, point the hose directly at the pasta, press on, the pasta disappears off of their plates (no chewing, no hands, no swallowing), and then they transform back into humans. For the next half hour, they initiate 847 different topics of conversation ranging from where Daddy is to how I cured Zack’s hiccups last night (a.k.a. seven weeks ago) by saying “Boo!” They get up and sit down no less than 25 times, Addy falls off of her chair at least once, and they completely ignore me anytime I say “please eat your [fruit/vegetable/protein].”
One day I was so beaten down from my failed efforts to get them to eat anything nutritious that I put my head down on the table and closed my eyes. Zack and Addy promptly started screaming at me “Wake up Mommy!!!! Wake uuuuuuuuuuuuuup!!” and then the idea hit me. I told them that the only way to wake me up would be to eat a piece of chicken and then I fell back to sleep on the table. Shockingly, they did it and I woke up with a little jump that made them giggle. Then they begged me to do it again and again and I proceeded to con those suckers into eating their whole dinner.
Over time, my wake ups required more and more pizzazz. I am now at the point where I pretend to be a sleeping animal instead of a sleeping mom. When Addy and Ben take a bite of their food, I wake up, jump out of my seat and make any one of about 27 different animal noises. My favorite is the giraffe because it requires the least amount of effort – munch, munch. My least favorite is the elephant, which I make by pressing my lips together and blowing really hard to create a horrible noise that makes me feel like I am going to pass out right into their plates.
I’ll spare you the details of how this skill applies in the bathroom. Just know that my kids can be even more chatty and unfocused on the pooper than they are at dinner and, trust me, the sleeping chimpanzee works better than a tab of ex-lax with a prune juice chaser.