Originally published in Parentwise: Austin magazine
I have a stalker. Or “obsessed fan”, if you prefer. He needs to be with me constantly. He cries when we’re not together. His love for me is immeasurable. He’d even get my name tattooed on his arm if he knew what tattoos were and how to spell my name. The worst part is, there’s no escape from my passionate little groupie. Because he’s my 3 year-old son. And he knows where I live.
Jack was first infatuated with me when he was a newborn, which is completely understandable. After all, I was the Lunch Lady. A veritable 24-hour all-you-can-eat Vegas buffet/Nudie Show that was available to him whenever the mood struck. And the mood struck about every two hours. My nipples still quiver in fright at the mere mention of those early morning dinner shows.
When Jack turned one, he suddenly couldn’t get away from me fast enough. I was the hardnosed Safety Police, thwarting his every attempt to climb into public fountains, lick dogs or jab sharp, pointy things into his ears. What kind of kid wants to be around a woman who won’t let them eat carpet or throw dollar bills in the toilet? Not Jack. At age two, he ever so slowly started toddling back to me. Mostly because I was the only one in the house who smelled good and knew how to use the DVD player.
Then the morning of his third birthday arrived and he woke with a wild glint in his eyes. Running past his pile of shiny presents to the biggest present of all, he hugged my legs with all of his might and decided right then and there that the only thing better than Mommy was more Mommy. That was six months ago. This is what life with Jack is like now:
Monday: Talks to me for five solid hours, mostly about circles. The checker at the grocery store asks if I gave him coffee and cigarettes for breakfast.
Tuesday: Insists on joining me in a crowded restroom, then loudly asks where my penis is. My response, “Peanuts? What peanuts?!? Are you hungry for peanuts?” doesn’t fool him and only solicits giggles from other stalls.
Wednesday: Is far more thrilled to see me at 4 a.m. than I am to see him.
Thursday: Falls apart when I bend over to pick something up and he can’t see me for 1.5 seconds.
Friday: Competes with his older brother for the honor of holding my hand. Unlike my long-held fantasy of two gentlemen fighting over me in a rather dashing duel, this one consists of two crazed preschoolers whacking the crap out of each other with half-full juice boxes.
Saturday: Ignores playroom full of toys so he can help mommy do work on the computer. After two minutes of non-stop fist pounding on the keyboard, somehow manages to e-mail the Pentagon my pap smear results.
Sunday: Carried out of house by husband while digging his fingernails into the doorjamb and screaming “MAHHH-MEEE!” like a 3 foot-high Stanley Kowalski from A Streetcar Named Desire. Alone at last, I start to miss him after 15 minutes.
I know it won’t be long until Jack will only want me when he’s either wounded or in jail or, if he’s anything like his uncle, if he’s wounded while in jail. That’s why I try to be patient when he insists on snuggling with me at 2 a.m. Or when he says “Mommy” 5,312 times in a row. But I still look at mothers of teenagers with a little bit of envy and dream about the day when I can take a shower without a cheering audience.