It happened Saturday morning. Right after Hub and I set an imaginary timer to see if we could actually sit and finish eating breakfast in a three minute span before one of the masters rang. Sure enough, nothin' doin, because a mere thirteen seconds passed before one of our kids chirped "Milk!, Milk!," and the other called with escalating urgency, "Boogrz! I got BOOGRZ!!!"
After fishing through the paper heap called our kitchen island to find a tissue for T, I asked "Dad" if he wanted more milk for his cereal. At the time, Hub didn't take note of it. He had enough milk.
But I thought, dude, no. Dad? Did I just call Hub, Dad? Like my Dad?!
While it couldn't possibly have been the first time in my almost four years of parenthood that I have addressed my better half as "Dad," this time stood out as awkward. And as the day unwound, I got the feeling that Hub had the same thought. Later, when picking up crap in the living room, Hub casually asked me, "Mom, what do you want to do with these shoes?"
Ewwww. Mom? Did he just call me Mom, like his Mom? I did not like that, fo sho. It made me feel old and also like maybe he when he looked at me he was seeing a woman in practical pink pajamas and an old wool sweater identifiable as nothing other than a mom. Mom period. No room for a smokin' hot babe with an actual name. At that moment, I felt like channeling Beyonce and demanding that he "Say my name," bro! Never mind the sweater.
An old co-worker, who is about fifteen years ahead of me in the parent trap, advised that I probably wouldn't really identify as a parent until my kid was about three years old. I think. I finally. Get it. He was referring to my necessary Continuing Parental Education requirements, or my "CPE's."
Like licensed attorneys, docs, engineers, accountants, or any other number of professionals, parents need CPE's to maintain the identity. To keep it fresh. To build street cred. I get it! I'm building credits, day by day. And I'm sure something magical, like a "Thanks for Participating" certificate with a foil sticker and a faux wood frame is certain to come of it. Here are some CPE's I earned this week:
• Don't let blue sidewalk chalk sit out in the rain because T will be drawn to it like a bee to honey and he'll grind his shoes in it. Then he'll track the neon stuff into the carpets and seats of the minivan, otherwise known pathetically as our "new" car.
• Those cute, flowy, skim-right-over-the-belly, cashmere blend sweaters that are all the rage for the advanced maternal age set, do not mix with babies named Nar slathered in Aquaphor.
• Don't even dream of viewing ("read" is too strong a term) the Fashion Police report in US Magazine for the upcoming flight with the babe. And don't bother packing that cashmere thing either.
• And finally (I know this one is worth conference level credits), entertain the thought that the name "Mom," when uttered by your spouse, may one day become a term of endearment. Like "love ya, schnookums." Right back at ya, Dad!