I’m ashamed to say this exact phrase just came out of my mouth: “If I have to get up out of this chair to take that away from you, I’m going to be really upset!”
Just to give you context, my four-year-old son is running around the living room waving one of those reusable fabric grocery bags around in the air. It was the combination of the squealing at the top of his lungs and the fact that the bag handles were intermittently looping around his neck (thus setting off blaring strangulation warning sirens in my head) that drove me to bellow out the aforementioned piece of maternal genius.
An important extra tidbit about me that might also help you out: I’m a germophobe extraordinaire. I’m having visions of Salmonella and Rotavirus and Heaven-knows-what other deadly strains of contagion transferring from that grubby bag to my son’s mouth as he decides to carry it in his teeth like a wild animal. Does Hantavirus live in our local grocery store? I don’t know, but I don’t want the first clue-in to be when my son comes down with it. Should I be Googling the symptoms of Hantavirus? Is it possible I’m even more neurotic than I realize I am??
So, in my irritation, horror, and utter annoyance, what did I manage to come up with? I’ll repeat…“If I have to get up out of this chair to take that away from you, I’m going to be really upset!”
Wow. That was one profound threat right there. If my son didn’t already realize I’m a lazy ass, he knows it now. And let me tell you, he’s really shaking in his shoes knowing Mama just might get “upset”. “Whew, Mama – I can handle you being ‘perturbed’ …. ‘miffed’ might just get my attention …. but ‘upset’?! Please, have mercy on me! Don’t bust out the upsettedness on me!!” (Okay, so he didn’t actually say that…but I guarantee you he was thinking it. For four years old, he’s remarkably adept at sarcasm.)
I even tried giving him the “Mother Eye” – the look that says, “So help me, child…if you don’t simmer down I’m gonna bring it.” Still nothing. He’s just made three circles around the couch while I sit here seething. It looks like I’m actually going to have to peel my butt out of this chair and throw some parental weight around. Heaven forbid I fail to make good on my promise to be “upset”. He might think I’m losing my edge. Might ruin my upper hand for good. Our peaceful little family life would degenerate into chaos. Oh wait… It looks like that ship has already sailed…