It happened on a day when everything else just seems to be flowing along fine.
"Mama, do I go to school today?"
"No, baby. No school today."
"Will I see teacher Bonnie?"
Teacher Bonnie is Brixton's favorite preschool teacher. She has a big smile, robust and cuddly breasts, and just that natural way with small children that makes you wonder what you're doing wrong. We see teacher Bonnie twice a week at preschool, but in a twist of fate, teacher Bonnie also attends our church. This means we often see her 3 times a week and each time she flashes that happy-to-see-you smile and gets down on "their level" and all of that psycho-babble jazz and gives Brixton hugs and attention.
He loves her.
Teacher Bonnie is a discussion fixture in our home. What's teacher Bonnie doing right now? Is teacher Bonnie sleeping? Where is teacher Bonnie?
But on this day, Brixton just went too far.
Upon learning that he wouldn't be seeing his beloved Bonnie that day, he used the toddler trifecta of guilt, manipulation, and mama-bear jealously against me.
"Mama, will you play with me?" (Shudder. A whole other post about that tricky little question.)
"Will you be teacher Bonnie?"
Oh, that's cute, I thought, my heart bursting with pride at my son's obvious cleverness and tender heart.
I said a few things here and there in my best teacher Bonnie voice, thinking how flattered she'd feel, knowing how she was loved.
The game continued for a bit, until I started slipping out of character and using my regular mom voice. Frankly, I didn't have the energy to be teacher Bonnie, all happy-happy voice, and wide smiles, and energy to sing a cute song and talk all friendly. Nope. I wanted to go back to mediocre, I-have-no-idea-what's-for-dinner, did-I-brush-your-teeth-this-week?, I'll-play-if-it-involves-me-laying-on-my-side-like-a-beached-whale, mom.
"No, mama, you have to be teacher Bonnie."
UGH. What Pandora's box did we open here?
"But I just want to be mama."
"No, I want teacher Bonnie."
Wait a minute. Wait a freakin' minute here.
I felt the first gentle prickles of jealously coming up. "Let's not overreact. He's just using his imagination." Self talk always helps. Especially when you talk out loud so other people can hear you.
I tried redirecting, introducing a new game/toy, dancing an Irish jig. All as myself, naturally. (Anyway, with the size of her ample breasts, I challenge her to an Irish jig-off. Pretty sure I would win that crown. You may get my son, but you will never out-jig me, lady.)
Brixton side-stepped all of my attempts, crushing them with one simple phrase, "Mama, you have to be teacher Bonnie."
So I did what any self-respecting mother would do. I stood up with great dignity, tied my robe around me (let's ignore the fact it was 2pm. Inconsequential.) and walked gracefully to the kitchen. There I opened the freezer and took out my hidden pint of ice-cream. With my pride still intact and a spoon in hand, I stood at the counter and ate my feelings.
Brixton continued playing in the other room, content now to play with an imaginary version of t.B, (I can't even write her name out at this point.) while his real mother got her fix hidden in a corner of the kitchen from her two dealers, Ben & Jerry.
No wonder life with t.B. just seems so glamorous.