Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Parental Paranoia

So we had an interesting morning. Mike has a sinus infection and while I feel sorry for him and all, his snoring has become loud enough to alter the rotation of the earth. This is slightly problematic when it comes to falling asleep myself. And so, in order to preserve our marriage, I've spent the last couple of nights camping in the family room. But last night, despite having an ENTIRE house between us, I could STILL hear him. That, coupled with a kidney stone that is currently making my life very interesting, kept me awake until, oh, around six o'clock this morning. This is important to understand, because it explains why I did not wake up until I heard the garage door, located directly below the family room, open.

It was still dark, and I assumed that Hubs was leaving for work, since he mentioned last night that he needed to go in early today. So, imagine my surprise when I looked at the clock and realized it was eight o'clock and my young son was no longer in the house.

Now, rationally, I understood that it was possible that Son had dressed, eaten breakfast and left for school all by himself. Stranger things have happened. And though I shudder to think about the possible clothing ensembles and hairstyles he tends to sport when unsupervised (think blind rodeo clown on crack) my greater concern was his tendency to head for an "alternate destination" while on his way to school. I was also concerned because it appeared to be raining heavily and for some reason the brain function that tells a person to for heaven's sake put on a coat because IT IS WINTER AND HYPOTHERMIA IS NOT AS GLAMOROUS AS ONE MIGHT THINK does not seem to have yet developed in my son.

In the few seconds to took for me to process this, I was able to ascertain via super sleuthing skills consisting of yelling his name as loudly as possible while walking through the house that Son had definitely left the building. I noticed that the garage door was left open, which is Son's usual M.O. This drives Mike insane, since he is convinced that there are people lurking in the bushes just waiting for someone to leave the garage door open so they can finally explore the forbidden environs of our garage.

Mike's paranoia about the garage is exceeded only by my paranoia that there are people lurking in the bushes just waiting to grab a mouthy, stubborn, ten-year old boy dressed like a homeless person, with his hair sticking out in directions that defy all known laws of physics and sporting milk mustache. He may be a scruffy, obnoxious urchin, but he's MY scruffy, obnoxious urchin and I'd really like to hold on to him for awhile longer. Besides, Son's pride and joy, his new bike, was still parked in the garage. That was definitely weird because he's been talking all week about getting to ride it to school. There is no way I would have let him ride to school in the rain, but I didn't think he would leave it home if I wasn't up to tell him "no".

And so, despite the fact that I was attired at the moment in my Christmas jammies and barefoot, with my hair looking very much like my son's (at least I'd not yet had time to acquire a milk mustache of my own) I grabbed my keys and went to look for my child. And before you go getting all judgmental, let me remind you I WAS TIRED!

I drove along his usual route to school, praying that I wouldn't run out of gas or get into an accident thus causing me to be seen by anyone who had the power of sight.(Because as everyone knows, you're invisible behind the windows of an automobile.) I arrived at the school and spotted him. He was standing out in the rain, of course, acting cool and pretending he didn't see me. Now, I know that I should have just driven away at that point. I realized I had overreacted but now I knew where he was, I knew he was safe. But no. I waved him over. His friends nudged him and Son very reluctantly looked over at me. Instead of actually coming over though, he just shouted from about 50 feet away, "WHAT?!" Disrespectful kid. I waved him over again and he trudged over to the car.

"Hey, you left without saying goodbye, and I was worried. How did you get here? You didn't take your bike."
"Dad brought me."
"Dad? Dad went to work early this morning."
"No he didn't. He's staying home because he's sick. Oh my gosh, MOM! Are you wearing JAMMIES?!"
"Hang on, if Dad stayed home, where's his car?"
"How should I know? He just brought me to school and said not to wake you up."

I sat there for a second wondering if Son was telling the truth or just trying to avoid getting into trouble.
"Uh, Mom? Could you go now? You don't need to get out of the car do you? Please don't get out of the car."
"I swear, I'll do anything you say, just DON'T get out of the car." This, coming from a child who routinely wears his shirts inside out AND backward and who thinks a towel qualifies as an article of clothing. As tempting as the thought of displaying my sleepwear for all the children was, I simply waved goodbye and drove home.

Upon my arrival, I noticed the garage doors were both closed. Apparently Mike was indeed home, and I must have passed him somehow. I walked into the house where I found Mike frantically dialing my cell phone, which I could hear ringing upstairs.
"Where have you been?"
"Why are you home? You're supposed to be at work!"
"I called in sick." He looked at me. "Are you wearing JAMMIES? Did you go out of the house in your JAMMIES?!"
"Why is everyone so fixated on that? And how was I supposed to know you were staying home? Your car was gone, I thought you went to work. Good grief, what if I was having an affair and arranged to have him meet me here this morning? How awkward would THAT have been? You can be SO inconsiderate sometimes."
"Seriously, you went out in your jammies?"
"HEY! I was worried that YOUR child had been misplaced or taken or something and I went looking for him."
"In your jammies? That poor kid is going to need therapy."
"I look like Julia Roberts on Oscar night compared to SOME parents when they take their kids to school."

At that point we both started laughing. Even though I'd been out of school for years when I met Mike, he had seen Dad's take-the-kids-to-school outfit. My brother likened it to being chauffered by Papa Smurf in a parka and a bright orange hunting cap. Though, arguably the best part of Dad's routine was when he'd roll down the window and spit right in front of the school. I have no idea why he did this, but I have to say it made quite an impression on my friends.

Okay, so I'm a little paranoid. And I'm a LOT over-protective. But comparatively speaking, my visit to the school this morning was down-right glamorous.


Ronni said...

Son started to pull the "I missed the bus" thing, in order to get driven to school. I told him I would put a bunch of those car flagpoles all over Burbie, and get battery-operated Christmas lights. Solved that problem right off. Especially when I threatened to play Weird Al Yankovich music really loud.

Justin said...

I am overprotective too. Better that than the alternative.

I once saw a woman dropping her child off in the car line who had on nothing but..

You may want to sit down....

A flimsy see though robe and control top panty hose (in that weird "tan" color) rolled down around her ankles.

Yes, my dear, I say you are a cover model.

Stacey said...

Hi Snipperdoodle.

I love that name! That poor child, at least I was covered! Oh the horror. Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Hope your recovery from your surgery goes well.

Hobbes said...

Hey! Get well soon! :)

son said...

I must admit I did try and persuade my friends that I did Not Know the lady in the Sport utillities vehicle [suv] converted into a mini van.It's kind of hard though when you look exactly like them and thus bringing one of the most imbarresing moments in 5 grade when I had to face my mom in public [lets just be glad she wasn't in curlers]