Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Don't Drink The (Vitamin) Water

In case anyone was wondering why I am a micro-manager at home, why I double- and triple-check everything and check up on everybody, here's why. It shall be made clear by the Vitamin Water incident.

Ainsley's newest taste sensation is Vitamin Water. I'm not sure how healthy it really is, but at least she's not subbing Coke for water like I was at her age.

"Okay, Jason and Ainsley," I said after my last grocery trip to replenish our stock. "I bought myself a Vitamin Water that has caffeine in it. It has a different-looking label than the regular bottles so it should be easy to tell it from Ainsley's. Since it would get her a little too wired, Ainsley shouldn't drink that one."

I showed them the bottle, they agreed, and I went on with my life.

Last night after dinner I came out of the bathroom to see Ains looking a little sheepish.

"Ainsley asked for a Vitamin Water and we got out your caffeinated bottle and she opened it and started drinking it before we realized it was yours. Sorry."

I have to tell you, this bothered me. Not because I wanted that Vitamin Water all to myself (I'm not that big a fan and just wanted to try it as an alternative to coffee) but because it just illustrates something I've suspected for a long time:

Nobody really pays attention to the mom.

I've seen Bill Cosby: Himself probably a hundred times. Before I had children, my favorite part was when Bill said that all children have "brain damage." He shows this by acting out how you have to repeat yourself over and over again like a fool just to get your kid to come to you ("Come here! Come here! Here! Comeherecomeherecomeherecomehere...Here! Here!"), and then when your kid finally comes over he looks at you like, "What? Were you calling for me or something?" According to Bill, this all goes back to brain damage.

It used to crack me up. Then I had a kid. Used to be funny because it's true, now it's just frustrating because it's true. I live it every day.

Jason doesn't get why something as petty as opening a forbidden bottle of pumped-up Vitamin Water would set my teeth on edge. I tried to explain to him how it makes me feel like my family never listens to me, or pays attention to what I say. I ended up trying to get my point across with the following tale:

Okay, so let's say I'm out one day and I buy us a little pet from a mysterious Chinese man. Let's just say for the sake of argument that it's called a Mogwai. There are three rules this thing comes with, and I carefully, pointedly explain these rules to Jason and Ainsley. Number one, no bright lights. They nod in agreement. Number two, don't get it wet. Okey dokey, they say. And the last, most important rule of all, never, ever feed it after midnight.

No problem, Mom! Gotcha!

But then I come home really late one night, and there they are, shooting pizza rolls into the thing's mouth from across the living room at one in the morning. I freak out, because I know that now the darn thing is going to mutate into a lizard-like creature with a white mohawk and trash the place.

"What?" my little family says. "What did we do?"

I explained all this to Jason.

"Don't you think that's a little...over the top?"

Yeah, that would clearly never happen. Cincinnati doesn't have a Chinatown, and we don't often have pizza rolls in the freezer.

"You have become such a micro-manager," Jason said to me just the other day. "You don't trust us to do anything without your supervision, do you?"

It's a problem, I know. I'm afraid that if I don't run the show, everything will fall apart. The gremlins will come out to play. The house will collapse around us without me to bear all the weight. That's probably unfair to Jason and to Ainsley. I need to just stand back and trust them.

But hide the caffeinated Vitamin Water. Just, you know, in case.

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