Monday, September 16, 2013

Momnipotence

One of the best parts of being the mother of small children is that it imbues you (in their eyes, anyway) with all kinds of magical, miraculous powers. You can heal with a kiss. You can transform something inedible into a delicious, appetizing treat using only cheerios, red hots, and broken pretzels. You can make up stories about anything on the spur of the moment. You know whenever they do something wrong, and when they lie about it. You can drive away all kinds of bogeymen, dragons, ghosts, goblins, and other scary closet and under-bed beings with nothing but a can of Febreeze or an invisible spoon.

I can’t claim the Febreeze story for myself; it was shared by a college friend whose son was afraid of ghosts, until she banished them with a bottle of Febreeze that she informed him was Ghost-Be-Gone. The invisible spoon, however, was a spur-of-the-moment invention of my own. I was putting my kids to bed a few days ago when my son announced that the previous night he’d had nightmares about meatballs made of cheese with giant green mouths. And also volcanoes. So I handed him an Invisible Dream Spoon (that was so invisible that you couldn’t even feel it while you were holding it), and I explained that in his dreams, he could use the Spoon to eat up the scary meatballs, and to cover up the tops of the volcanoes so they couldn’t erupt. He then informed me that he expected to also dream about thunderstorms that night, so I told him that if he held the Spoon over his head, it would grow into a giant, impenetrable umbrella (good vocabulary words are often a useful distraction from his usual bedtime avoidance techniques) and protect him from the storm.

After I tucked him in, I reflected on my story. Was I brilliantly inventive, or was I just dismissing my child’s fears with a silly story? I wasn’t sure until I got up the next morning and asked my son how he’d slept. He popped out of bed, grinned, and said (with a bit of surprise in his voice), “Mama! No bad dreams last night!” Yup, brilliantly inventive.


Being a mother, at least at this stage of the game, is often frustrating. It’s sometimes like herding cats while nailing jello to a tree. It’s repeating the same things over and over, hoping something will stick. (Isn’t that the definition of insanity?) There are days when the only people I want to spend time with after I finally get the kids to bed are Ben and Jerry and Johnny Walker. There are days when I’m convinced I won’t even make it to bed time without losing my mind. But then I have a moment when I am suddenly all-powerful. I am the Kisser Away of Booboos, the Teller of Tales, the Knower of All Misbehavior, the Fixer of Broken Toys, the Driver Away of Scary Beasties. I am…Momnipotent! (At least in my son’s eyes.)
Apparently in my son’s eyes I am also the wearer of bright purple pants.
Hey, if your superhero costume isn’t in vivid colors, why bother wearing one at all?

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