Most of adult life is spent getting out of plans with people. We say “yes” to something we feel obliged to do, yet when the time comes to actually follow through… we don’t want to anymore. But rather than say, “hey man, forget it. I am not into it anymore. I decided to stay home and eat a ball of buffalo mozzarella in front of my computer” we come up with some fabricated event that is beyond our control.
Bailing on a commitment has to be accomplished with a certain amount of finesse. You cannot give the same excuse twice, and you must make sure that whatever you say borders between totally reasonable and completely insane. No one is going to tell you that your grandmother isn’t in the hospital because she choked on a gerbil. It could have happened, right? Somewhere in the world, at one point, that has taken place. The key is to make your explanation not only outlandish, but also tragic enough whereas to doubt the validity of your story would make the other person look like the asshole. The prevailing reaction to your fib must be “who would lie about Nana deep-throating a gerbil?!
That is the beauty of adult relationships… the freedom to flake at any moment. Even if you are out with someone, you can bail on them if they were annoying the fuck out of you. You could easily pretend to get a text message saying you have to leave because a wolverine bit your Uncle Bam Bam. These things happen! Who would keep you from being at Bam Bam’s side while he bleeds to death?!
Here is the thing that sucks about being a parent. You don’t always want to be around your kid, but it is not that simple to ditch them. I can’t be at a museum with The Munch and out of nowhere say “ummmm I am going to take off because I just got an email saying my dad gave birth to an acorn squash… so now he is a medical anomaly and I got to go be there for him.” The Munch would be like “yeah cool, well bring me with you because you are the person who keeps me alive and shit.”
There are days when I don’t feel like catering to her needs, demands, and desires for candy. Yesterday, for example, I was in the middle of working but had to pick up Munch from school. I wanted finish what I was doing, yet if I was even 2 minutes late her teacher would be like “Come get your damn kid before I turn her into stew while singing a song about rabbits who like jumping through clouds.” (P.S preschool teachers sing while they do stuff). So I stopped everything, and got my child like a responsible parent.
Even though I wasn’t in the mood to hang out with a four year old, I had no choice because she is my child and that’s just what was happening. I decided to take Munch to the park so I could stare off into the loneliness of space while she kept herself busy going down the slide. However, we stopped at the organic store to pick up some self-righteous and morally superior snacks. Rather than coming into the store with me, The Munch decided to freak the fuck out because her hair was in her face.
Munch: My hair keeps getting in my face!
Toni: Okay, wear this clippy. I can easily solve that problem.
Munch: I don’t want to wear a clippy! They are too floppy and just flop around. I want a headband.
Toni: Well, I don’t have a headband.
Munch: I WANT A HEADBAND!!! WAHHHHHHAAAAAAHHHHHHHAAAAA!
Toni: Dude! Relax… I don’t have a headband. Just wear this clippy and lets move on with our lives!
Munch: I NEED A HEADBAND!! I WANT TO GO HOME AND GET A HEADBAND AND THEN COME BACK AND GET SNACKS AND THEN GO TO THE PARK!
Toni: Ummm there is no way that is happening. Home is 20 minutes away. If we go home, we are not coming back. It is a beautiful day. Why don’t we go play and enjoy existence by emotionally avoiding it.
Munch: I WANT A HEADBAND!! WAHHHHAHHHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHA!!
I didn’t have it in me to fight about a headband, nor did I think Munch would buy it if I said I had to take off because I left the oven on. She knows I never use that thing. I was stuck with her, and her shitty mood about a shitty headband. So we drove to CVS to buy a stupid headband because that is exactly what we need in the house – MORE HEADBANDS. 36 just isn’t enough.
We then went back to the organic store, grabbed some heightened sense of self-worth, and finally got to the park. Once we are there, The Munch decided she didn’t like the grilled cheese sandwich on the gluten-free substance-free wrap I got her.
Munch: I don’t like it. It is too cheesy!
Toni: What do you mean you don’t like it? You said that is what you wanted.
Munch: Well I don’t want it now. It is too cheesy.
Toni: Do you want me to take some of the cheese out?
Munch: But that is all there is? The rest is just air.
Toni: Whatever fine. Don’t eat it then. Have some kale chips or mango chia pods.
The Munch went to play for a moment and I did what any normal person would do. I ate her grilled cheese. SHE SAID SHE DIDN’T WANT IT OKAY?
Munch: Mamma, where is my grilled cheese sammich?
Toni: I ate it.
Munch: What?! I WANTED THAT!!! WHY DID YOU DO THAT??!!
Toni: You said you didn’t want it!? I didn’t want it to go to waste. It was $89?! They harvested the cheese from a golden cow!
Munch: WWAHHHAHHHAHAAAA! I WANT MY GRILLED CHEESE SAMMICH!
Toni: You shouldn’t have said you didn’t want it!! I am really sorry, but I didn’t want it to go to waste!!
If The Munch had been an adult, I would have just left. No excuse necessary. I could have just been like “you are insane, and I am out of here.” Yet this was not an option. I HAD TO HANG OUT WITH HER EVEN THOUGH I DIDN’T WANT TO!
Munch was furious at me. She stomped around and pouted about her sandwich while I tried to look like a good parent by checking my text messages. After about 5 minutes of this display, Munch decided to show me one of her amazing “tricks” – hanging on a monkey bar and then letting go to fall on the ground.
Munch: Mamma look! Watch me!
As annoying as kids can be, they are also amazing at transitioning out of their crappy moods. Just like that,The Munch was as happy as a clam, which I assume is happy, even though clams seem really closed off to me. I followed her lead and we ended up having an amazing evening together. I guess that is the lesson I needed to learn. When you cancel on people or don’t show up, you never know the good time you might have missed.