Those Who Can, Do.
Those Who Can’t, Pay Gross Amounts of Cash To Replicate It.
My Dad doesn’t have the build of a hockey player. A life long Detroit Red Wings fan, he purchased season tickets before I was born and long before he could afford them. Despite his savant ability to rattle off stats (which eventually led to a friendship with a famed coach), he’d never have an opportunity be a part of the NHL. So for his 40th birthday, we sent him to a fantasy camp. Dad skated the ice where his heroes bashed their brothers into the boards. He met Captain Steve Yzerman. He even had the chance to sprint to the blue line with old time players. (Those of you who don’t give a shit about sports, stay with me.)
I thought it was brilliant. As years passed more of these programs were created. You can go to “Rock God Guitar Camp” or “Fighter Pilot School.” Those who don’t have the chops to live their dream could walk the walk in the world’s most brilliant (and possibly most expensive) game of “let’s pretend.”
This thinking can be extended to other areas of life. It’s an opportunity to test drive a different lifestyle before you commit to it. Think you should quit your job, drop out and be a goat cheese farmer? There’s a weekend class for that in Vermont. Always wondered what life would be like as a winemaker living in Italy? Tours allowing you to create your own vintage exist.
This week, I applied the method to a lifestyle change I am highly skeptical of – Motherhood. I have a lot of amazing qualities. But permanent selflessness isn’t one of them. I wake up early because I crave espresso. Kids wake up early because they’re covered in pee. I like my hands manicured and poop free. Do we really have anything in common?
With my invention of “Toddler Mom” fantasy camp, I can see how I’d fair with rug rats of my own.
The subjects for this experiment:
Girl: 1 1/2 – Sassy Sweet.
Boy: 4 – Mischievous.
Mom: Best Friend of 20 Years. Laidback.
The day starts early with Boy climbing into my bed and demanding television. I turn on some insane piece of shit show with songs that tell me to kill someone and fall back asleep.
I wake up as ‘Oso’, an incredibly stupid cartoon bear, squirts toothpaste on his own face. I pray any kid I spawn would shun entertainment who can’t correctly use hygiene products. The blond Boy flashes his smile and mentions he’s hungry. I fly to the kitchen to make scrambled eggs. Something I’d never do for my husband. This kid is just so damned cute; I want to make sure he’s fed. I pat myself on the back for the motherly instincts oozing from my pores. He doesn’t want eggs. He wants mac and cheese. I respect and honor his choice.
Girl stands in her crib, curls bouncing, as she tries to escape. I start to rescue her, but am stopped by the smell of her butt. I leave her in captivity and fetch her mother. We need to walk before we can run, folks.
After breakfast, we load the kids into the car and take them to Jungle Java – a place invented by a mother who was driven to drink by kids who don’t sleep through the night. They sell the magical elixir that fuels motherhood – coffee. While the moms suck back lattes, there’s an indoor gym for the kids.
Boy insists I come with him into the soft padded climbing area reminiscent of the physical challenges on Family Double Dare. I shuck my Reed Krakoff boots and last year’s cashmere sweater and follow him dutifully. And I get trapped between the rollers. Like cannot move, pinned between the colorful tubes. The amount of sweating and stretching reminds me of being stuck in a dress in the dressing room at Saks. I know how to release myself. Stay calm and flatten my boobs and raise my arms over my head, wiggling all the while. Once free, I slide down a three story high slide and squeal – a sound not heard since I found Vera Wang flats on sale.
I left him there and marveled he was independent enough to be on his own. Maybe I should skip the infant step and get myself a kindergartner.
Back in the little kids area, Girl scoots around the mats and walks over to a more manageable slide. She plays nice until out of nowhere she dumps her goldfish all over the floor and throws herself flat on the ground, screaming. I’m told this means she’s hungry. I can relate, I have the same response when my flights are delayed.
Lunch was an easy affair. Girl stood in her highchair and laughed when we told her to sit flat. Boy thoughtfully questioned why our food was taking so long to appear. Not in a whiny complaining way – an actual inquiry. He wasn’t wrong. They both fed themselves. Girl also fed me Lady and the Tramp style. I loved it. I’d normally refused spit-covered crackers, but who could resist them coming from her cute face.
So far so good, we returned to the house and prepped for nap.
Nap? For some It.Never.Fucking.Came. Girl went totally ape shit. I considered giving her some Cab Franc to calm her them the fuck down. Her mother told me that was illegal but I could have some if I needed it. Her mother is a genius.
Once we freed Baby Girl from her nap cage, she was happy. She just didn’t want to miss the fun – in our case, the gossip shared between her mom, both her auntie Eric(k)as and myself. I didn’t blame her. The four of us had some juicy shit to discuss. Because it was snowing (in April?) we brought her outdoor playhouse inside into the center of our circle. It was like the Red Tent with Toddlers. She played quietly while we discussed womanly secrets. A brilliant parenting move – way outside the box. I would have gone back to the wine idea eventually. I have a lot to learn from her Mom, a season veteran of the game.
Boy slept for 4 hours. He is my hero.
Dinner was even easier than lunch since neither one of them wanted to eat it. So they didn’t. No whining of being hungry later. Self-control I wish I could harass for my ever present dieting schemes.
Sensing my fatigue, Mom put her daughter to bed while I played trains with the Boy. We made up songs about each one that always ended with “And then they fell off the track.” He gave me zerberts on my arm and laughed. It was a happy fun moment.
We handed bedtime story duty Dad and my day was done. The fantasy camp came to a close with this conclusion: I’m not ready for kids of my own. I *AM* a kid. I have more in common with the toddlers than I do with their mothers. As a special thank you to their Mom for sharing her kids with me, I gave her a taste of “Party Girl Fantasy Camp.” The pitcher of sangria was the gateway to my world. Maybe she’ll want to enroll?