Liar, Liar Easter Bunny On Fire

"Easter bunny, are you real?" "Sure, kid. Now get in my van." (image via dreamstime)

Last year while walking down to school, my daughter, Riley and I were talking about inconsequential things, as we usually did in the morning, when without warning, she segued into:

 

“Debbie told me there’s no Tooth Fairy. Debbie’s brother told her that it’s really our parents only you will never ever ever admit it. Are you the Tooth Fairy?”

 

“Uh…”

 

Keep in mind that I was still in the sweatpants in which I’d slept, my hair unbrushed and thrown into a sloppy ponytail. I might have been prepared for discussions about breakfast cereal at that hour, but I was totally and completely unprepared for a discussion entailing the loss of childhood fantasy. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I would be having the conversation with my innocent, fairy-loving daughter in the first grade so I was caught flat-footed between my commitment to honesty and my love of childhood innocence.

 

Why didn’t Riley want to discuss something easy, like where babies come from? I’d spent numerous hours preparing for that question. I would’ve hit that one out of the park. But Debbie Downer had stolen my opportunity for parental success.

Waa Waa. (image via Wikipedia)

 

 

Who was this Debbie? And why was she heading a massive conspiracy aimed at undermining  my parental acuity? I felt the powerful urge to kick her first grade butt. She was ruining my morning.

 

Thanks to Debbie, I was under the gun with no time to Facebook my friends and set up some sort of parental poll regarding effective ways of navigating this crisis. I had to handle it on my own. Like an adult. I need to be warned before I’m asked to do that. Or at least caffeinated.

 

I longed desperately for someone to run out of their house at that moment and yell “I have something really important that precludes all deep family conversations!” but our neighbors were seemingly oblivious to my predicament. Unlike dogs, my neighbors can’t smell fear and desperation. I scrambled to buy myself some time while I wrestled with my moral dilemma.

*Hey do you smell that? Smells like a cornered rabbit." "Mmm, cornered rabbit is my favorite."

 

“Wow. Really? She said that? Huh. What’s Debbie’s deal? She sounds like a very unhappy and possibly unstable girl. And what’s up with her brother?” (When in doubt, undercut the credibility of the source.) “Can you imagine me in a tooth fairy get-up flying around, and getting stuck in your hair while trying to wrestle your tooth out from under your pillow?” (Then deflect with humor.)

 

I added a visual demonstration of myself as a fairy struggling through Riley’s hair to sell the absurdity of the thought but Riley was unswayed by my comedic genius.

 

“Are you the Tooth Fairy, Mom?”

 

In that moment I was reminded of a conversation I’d had as a child with my own mother about Santa’s existence. A boy in my school had unloaded the “Santa is actually your parents” bomb on the whole 4th grade class and I felt the need to get reassurance from my mom. Her answer: “The spirit of Santa is real.” Not the definitive answer I wanted. I asked her about 50 more times and received the same answer on loop. I desperately wanted my mom to tell me outright that Santa was real. I looked into my daughter’s trusting blue eyes and remembered my own desire to keep believing.

"I'm what you call a Christmas poltergeist." (image via dreamstime)

 

“No, I’m not the Tooth Fairy, Sweetie.”

 

There it was. Bald faced lie.

 

I felt the weight of guilt crushing my skull and I realized that my mom probably had the right approach. She didn’t lie. She gave a nebulous answer that, while unsatisfying, did afford me the opportunity to decide for myself whether or not I was ready to let go of my childhood fantasies.

I hate it when my moments of clarity come just after I actually need them. It’s seriously inconvenient.

 

I tried to make up for my misgivings and feelings of guilt with a long, rambling speech about how different people believe different things and some people just don’t believe in magic and magic is important in childhood…yadda, yadda, yadda. I can’t remember the whole speech but frankly it was embarrassing. I think I included a whole theological discourse on the differences between Paganism and Christianity. I was in the midst of a shame spiral and could not stop talking. By the time we got to Riley’s school her ears were bleeding from my verbal onslaught. She ran onto the school grounds screaming “Please stop the madness!”

 

That last part might have happened only in my imagination.

 

Flash forward to this year’s Easter. The kids discovered their Easter baskets, which I had packed full of things specific to each of their tastes and needs. Riley pulled out a box of Altoids from her basket and said with a disturbing lack of incredulity,

 

“The Easter bunny must know I like mints.”

 

Translation: I’m onto you and your little bag of tricks, you bald-faced liar.

"My mom's a big fat fibber."

 

Cue shame spiral. Somebody please get me a muzzle.

 

Slacker Mom Confessional – Spirit Week

This morning we all woke up late. Well the kids woke up late and I uncharacteristically decided to shower as soon as I got out of bed due to the fact that my hair had molded into some sort of 4th grade art project during the night. The shower put me behind schedule.

Personal hygiene is my nemesis.

So we were all running behind when I realized that it was Crazy Hair day at my daughter’s school. This is spirit week and Crazy Hair day was the day to which Riley had been looking forward all week. She had big plans for Crazy Hair day, namely to dye her hair the color of the rainbow. All week long I told myself to prepare and all week long preparation was preempted by other, more pressing things on my to-do list, so this morning found me woefully unprepared.

However, Riley hasn’t had the best week. She’s been stressed out about learning multiplication and the upcoming state testing and bummed about a hundred other little things.¬† Being a sensitive, dyslexic seven-year-old ain’t easy some days. Because of that, I wouldn’t even consider scrapping the rainbow hair plan despite having insufficient time and preparation. Desperate mothers aren’t ruled by logic.

I'd dye my butt rainbow colors for my daughter if it wouldn't simply traumatize her.

I grabbed our food coloring, my creme brulee ramekins, some conditioner, a toothpick and a sandwich baggie in a rush and went to work.

Okay, so my organizational skills are suspect even when I’m not under duress. My manual dexterity is sub par. And I multitask like a drunken bachelor. This partially explains why I grabbed such nonsensical items.

You know what you can accomplish with a toothpick, a baggie and a lot of food coloring in a tiny white bathroom? Complete multicolored chaos. Like a mac truck and the Easter bunny collided.

Jackson Pollock bathes here.

The only thing that really didn’t take color was Riley’s hair, which sent me into a panic, because I just couldn’t accept the look of disappointment on her face after all the carnage. I made a last minute decision to stop rinsing the colored conditioner from Riley’s hair in an effort to keep at least a hint of rainbow on her head. Then we ran out of time before I could thoroughly blow dry Riley’s hair so I sent her to school with wet, slightly slimy, mildly tinted hair, a bright blue ear and random smudges and smears everywhere else. She was shivering when I dropped her off at the gate and well on her way to developing Spirit Week pneumonia. But she was happy about having colored hair and that’s what’s important, right? Right?? Right!

I took this picture after school. Greasy, colored hair makes Riley feel edgy like a 7-year-old runaway or a Calvin Klein model.

When Conor and I triumphantly returned home I remembered that both the rent and preschool payment were due…five days ago. Those two items were also preempted by other items on my to-do list. Understandable. It’s not like housing and education are important, right? Ask any politician.

I threw a check and one of Riley’s drawings into an envelope (my little way of reminding our landlords that we have adorable children who make up for my delinquent rent payments) and hustled Conor out to the car. We dropped the rent at the same post office that houses our landlords’ p.o. box to speed delivery. I briefly lamented about the waste of another stamp but since I can’t even remember what current postage is it’s hard to really get indignant.

We're happy even on the verge of being incinerated by the giant sun--who wouldn't want us as renters?

Then we headed to the credit union, conveniently located nowhere near our home. I like to pay our preschool in cash because they are extremely relaxed about cashing checks and Hubs tends to get excited upon finding extra money in our account. When Hubs gets excited, he celebrates by purchasing something. The preschool inevitably cashes the check right after Hubs’s celebratory purchase. And then Mama can’t go to Vegas…I mean the grocery store.

On a side note: I only refer to myself as Mama when I’m gambling or experiencing a financial windfall which is exactly never.

Now at that point I hadn’t eaten yet, which is not a good thing. Important parts of me shut down when I don’t eat: patience, empathy, motor skills, cognitive function. And Conor was overdue for his every-15-minute fuel intake as well. The inside of my car sounded like a road trip with the Bickersons of Bickerville. Conor loudly expressed his disdain for the post office, the road we were on, all roads around us, going uphill, going downhill, “pleases” officers, banks, cars, air, you name it, he hated it and I was only slightly more pleasant.

I had to carry Conor into the credit union due to his sudden attack of “pleases”officer-phobia and that took a little longer than usual because, in my low blood sugar state I couldn’t remember how to get to the front door. Afterward I couldn’t remember where the freeway on-ramp was and ended up on the wrong freeway headed to no place in particular. I should have picked up a souvenir and some breakfast.

Oh look, we're here. (image via dreamstime)

When we were finally home and I was dancing around in the hallway, waiting for my son to get done with the bathroom, so that I could relieve myself and then eat before ending up in a puddle of my own tears and urine, I remembered that I had missed the play date I’d scheduled for Conor by an hour and a half. What else could I do but light my to-do list on fire and sit down here to write my confession?

You see I’m not a slacker mom because I don’t care. I’m a slacker mom because I don’t possess the mental faculties to be super efficient and still sane. God made me mildly funny and then got distracted and left the room before he added organizational tools. I’m okay with this. I love myself and all of my deficiencies. My kids seem to be okay–I don’t think disorganized parenting caused Riley’s dyslexia or stunted their growth.

Disorganized parenting is the leading cause of messy hair and extended pajama wearing according to the Surgeon General's office.

However if you were thinking of putting me on some sort of important committee for the future of society, you might want to rethink that choice. Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow is available.