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a tale of two moms

I encounter two moms in my weekly rounds who remind me of this crazy/lonely lady. Remember Will Farrell’s SNL skit about the guy with voice immodulation syndrome? They’re like that character, only less funny.

The first mom is at our neighborhood park, and she chooses not to engage with the other moms in conversation but rather LOUDLY narrates her two-year-old’s every movement. “H____, you’re going to the slide! Oh, not the slide, the swings! Wow! Now you’re sharing your toy. Good job! Oh, you’re not sharing your toy. That’s ok, you’re a good boy!” It is off-putting to say the least.

[Note: Boy’s name left out due to unnecessary protection of my blogging anonymity. As if anyone in my city even knows I blog. They don’t. Yet.]

Then there’s the dad, who sometimes meets them after he gets off work. His behavior is perhaps even more odd. First I must mention he has the same bowl haircut as his son. Starting at the far end of the park, he briskly bounds across a ball field on his way toward the playground, gripping a backpack and all the while loudly talking to H_____, who has not even noticed him yet. The hair, backpack and loud voice give him the appearance of a giant toddler coming to play. Once, I kid not, he was wearing OVERALLS.

Okay, I kid, I kid! But boy, I have stifled a cough-laugh many a time. They are a pair, these two.

Charlie at the park. Loving her new curls.

The other momzilla hangs out at the children’s library resale shop, which is my little-known quiet rainy-day haven where I can find gently used snow boots and children’s books for a quarter. Usually I go there after dropping off Vivi at school to kill time until Charlotte’s little tumbling tots class (the epitome of cuteness, by the way). The other moms are almost always interesting and funny, and the only thing missing is a coffee shop on the corner. I don’t think I would ever leave if it had that.

I picked up the most wonderful book of old nursery rhymes the other day, and each and every picture looks like it ought to be framed. It has been bringing up all kinds of warm feelings that probably deserve their own post.

But for now:


See what I mean?

So ok, there’s a strange mom at the library shop. She appears to live there, although I’m sure I am mistaken about that. But she could use a shower and a mirror. She carts her kid around in a stroller (a much-too-old-to-be-in-a-stroller kid, I might add) and almost always ignores the kid except occasionally saying “No, you can’t get out yet.”

But that is not all. Oh how I wish it were all. She wanders about shouting to no one in particular “OOOOOHHH look at this! This is made by a company in Belgium, I didn’t know they sold these in America, I wonder who brought it to the store and how they got it, I just can’t imagine how it got here, isn’t that weird, and it’s from Belgium, very rare, very very rare.”

I want to put my arm on her shoulder to steady her stream of words, but I have seen many a woman get sucked into her vortex so I politely ignore her and avoid eye contact. There is an unspoken rule among us ladies who shop at the library store: if you are sucked in by this lady, you are on your own. Folks, it is dog-eat-dog out there in the world of motherhood.

Am I being hypercritical? I try to maintain a distant approach to gawking at other families, but I admit to passing judgment on occasion. I guess parents should be allowed to be as excited about their kids’ every breath or article of clothing as much as they like, but they detract from my intentional delusion that stay-at-home moms are all fun and cool. And most of them are. But this mental trickery is how I make the internal decision to initiate conversation with the unknown moms in my surroundings.

What about nutty moms in your neck of the woods?