Monday, July 30, 2012

Look, Ma! No Hands!

Like most people out there—with the exception of those born with congenital defects, those who fell victim to illness or accident, and Cyclopes (that’s the plural of Cyclops…I looked it up)—I was born with two eyes. Mine are green. I like them. I think they are keepers. Whatever color it happens to be, the human eye is an amazing machine. In most circumstances, my two green eyes are quite sufficient for any and every purpose I can imagine. With two eyes, I can watch television and peruse Pinterest at the same time. With two eyes, I can update my Facebook status while skillfully shoveling potato chips in my mouth, rarely losing even a crumb. With two eyes, I can write this blog while keeping an eye out for the mailman bringing my latest package from Zappos. All in all, I have been fairly adept most of my life at multi-tasking with my two eyes.

Lately, however, two eyes are proving themselves insufficient. It’s a simple matter of mathematics really. I have two eyes and three children. Despite my best intentions—despite my best efforts to give them each my undivided visual attention—I find myself falling short.

“Momma, watch this!” “Momma, look at me!” Momma, look what I can do!” “Momma, are you watching?” There is a limit to the watching one parent can do. By the 45th failed attempt at a handstand, my eyes begin to glaze over and I find my gaze swerving away from my adorable child and toward the clock. Or the television. Or my cell phone. Or the refrigerator. Or the bathroom. Or the steak knife lying on the kitchen counter. Perhaps impaling myself on a steak knife would end the misery once and for all?

I try. Really, I do. I try my best to give my children the attention they deserve. The attention their little psyches crave. But I am weak. And they are relentless. I simply do not possess the stamina to “watch” them for a minute longer than is absolutely required. I can’t do a moment longer than I am legally and morally bound to do as one of their primary care-givers. They know I am an inadequate parent, but it does not stop them. They keep coming. If I am being perfectly honest, I don’t care how high they can jump. I don’t give a rip how long they can stand on one foot. I don’t care in the least how long they can dangle limply from a monkey bar. Of course, I feign interest with my children as all good parents should. But I can be honest here. Most of what they ask me to watch on any given day is tedious enough to put this mom into a glassy-eyed coma. When the day comes that my children say, “Momma, watch me order you a pair of shoes online for 50% off the regular price” or “Momma, watch me vacuum the entire house while you lounge on the couch sipping the margarita I just made you” then they may have my undivided attention. Until then, I will fake it. I will continue to watch my three children with my two eyes.

Just another mom performing a feat of mathematical genius.
It goes with the territory, I suppose.


Madgew said...

I love your stories Shannon. When my grand kids come over I sit with them while they watch TV and I look up occasionally and comment. They seem to think I am watching right along with them. Sometimes I have to admit to them I missed something maybe because I am reading and writing on my computer. Wait until they all activities on the same day and there are only two of you to go to three events. My sister had three and they were all over her when they didn't think it fair. My older son and his wife have three and someone is always calling foul. Have fun. Just love you and your family Shannon.

Jessy Schrandt said...

Ha! This was my day yesterday exactly. I watched a YouTube video with Maya on how to do a cartwheel and then she proceeded to attempt it approximately 1,000,000 times (while never really improving) and demanded I watch EVERY attempt. Followed by her improvised "floor routine" (thank you Olympics). I feel your pain :)

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