Bad Mommy Blues
If this weekend is any indication of what is ahead for Bee, I am in big trouble. It started during Shabbat dinner. As is our weekly tradition, we said the blessing over the wine and then passed around the kiddush cup for everyone to sip. My big mistake was to pass it to Bee first, expecting her to take her customary small taste, wrinkle her nose in disgust, and commence clamoring for the challah. But Friday night was different. After she took a dainty little sample, she tightened her grip on the cup, knocked her head back, and downed the rest of the sweet, sticky Manischewitz in one big chug like a freshman at a frat party. Glassy-eyed and purple-lipped, she spent the remainder of the evening staggering around the living room, giggling madly and planting impromptu sloppy wet kisses on her grandparents.
"Oh god, what have I done?" I moaned.
"Well . . . at least she's a happy drunk," my mom noted helpfully.
"Yeah," I replied "I'm so glad she's not the type to start crying in her beer over all her regrets in life."
Can I be forgiven for hoping that, at the very least, the haze of alcohol would cause her to drift off to sleep a little sooner? Alas, it wasn't to be. It turns out Bee is a regular lampshade-on-the-head party girl. She finally crashed at about 11:00 PM, with wine dribble on her chin and a big smile on her face. I think next week I'll switch to grape juice.
The next day it was pouring rain, so we took the kids to a matinee showing of that fine cinematic masterpiece, Pooh's Heffalump Movie. While it looked even less interesting than the Spongebob movie we saw on Christmas Eve, it was short, appropriate for toddlers, and a lot better than being cooped up in the house all afternoon. Plus it was playing at the new, well-appointed Century 16 theater in Pleasant Hill, meaning that I could enjoy plush stadium seating and fresh-ground Starbucks while we watched. Well, while some of us watched - Bee preferred to wander freely about the theater, marching to the front of the screen to marvel at the 8-foot Piglet and traipsing merrily up and down the aisles pointing out the yellow and blue lights. I didn't mind so much, as she didn't seem to be bothering anybody and I mostly could keep an eye on her from my chair. The only thing was, she kept returning to the second row again and again and I wondered what was going on there - was she stealing someone's candy or drinks?
As I slipped out of my seat to go check on her, the reason became clear. In the second row was a little boy who looked to be about her age. Each time she casually sauntered by his chair, he would rise and follow her to a dark corner where they proceeded to hug and kiss. It's not so much that I mind her making out with a strange boy at the movies - who among us hasn't done that, after all? But I was disturbed to see that the boy did not remove his pacifier beforehand, bringing back unpleasant memories of my boyfriend when I was 15, who continually neglected to take out his retainer before we kissed. I found this rather repulsive - I wanted to kiss him, not the remnants of his lunch from hours before - and refused to let him come near me unless the dental accessory was safely out of sight. I feel that Bee should have the same standards for her partners. Or is kissing with a pacifier the toddler version of safe sex?
At one point, she came back to her seat just long enough to grab the paper cup which had contained my double mocha. It was empty save for the sludge of chocolate syrup on the bottom, her favorite part. As I watched her from afar - strutting around the theater, slurping from her Venti Starbucks cup and getting busy with the kid in the second row - it occured to me that maybe this whole weekend wasn't the best reflection of myself as a parent.
But that would be wrong! See, there is a method to my apparent permissiveness. By letting Bee get her alcohol and sexual experimentation out of the way at this early date, I am assuring that it will be completely out of her system by the time she's, say, five.