By my calculations, I have about three, maybe four more years to be a rockstar in the eyes of my son. I am relatively certain that the onset of 2nd grade math homework will reveal my true incompetency and simultaneously thrust my engineer/math genius husband into the spotlight relegating me forever to the realm of tambourine girl. If not the math then it will most certainly be when we begin competitive soccer. I was a chubby kid with low to moderate athletic ability while the Turk is the son of a professional soccer star. How can I compete with that? I know, I know we’re both his parents and it is not about who he loves more...but is soooo is. I was a teacher for many years and I’ve seen it firsthand. Moms get all the glory from their sons for those first years and then one day- boom- it’s all over and it’s man-time with dad. I know my time is waning so I try to make the most of it and perhaps, try to buy myself some extra time.
I make him his favorite cookies every week, spend hours in torturous games of UNO and recently I created a bed-sheet fort that encompassed our entire living room and then proceeded to eat lunch in said fort with the Midget. But none of that compares to what I will do for my little Turk when he needs a costume. Having a mom who is a professional costume designer for a kid who likes to dress up must be the same as having a mom who is a pastry chef for a kid with a sweet tooth. The other day the Midget was distraught because he had to wear his blue Batman cape when he dressed up as Darth Vader. “I need black. Darth Vader can’t have a blue cape. The Storm Troopers will laugh at him.” So I whipped him up a brand new black one and a very happy Mr. Vader has been seen at various meals in our kitchen ever since.
Do I dote? Well yes, but it not my fault. I began this whole motherhood thing trained by Turkish mothers. Turkish mothers are the ones who bring their 5th grade son’s lunches to school and feed them between shots on the soccer pitch. Turkish mothers run across the room to wipe a nose well into their son’s teens. Turkish mothers iron their son’s underwear until their wife takes over. (Trust me on that one – I lived it.) Only a stupid woman would attempt to come between a Turk and his mommy. So yes, I dote because I learned from the very best.
Last week the Midget needed a costume for his upcoming play. I enrolled my little comedian in an acting class at the community center and for the past 6 weeks, every Wednesday he and nine other 4-6 year olds have been rehearsing their Christmas show with a short-tempered Russian woman. Thanks to having a foreign father, mine is the only kid who can understand a single word spoken by Ms. Svetlana and thus he has the meatiest role. The Midget is playing the role of the Friendliest Snowman complete with 5 lines and a couple of musical interludes. When Ms. Svetlana informed us that we’d need to come up with costumes, I assured the Midget he would be the most fabulous snowman in the entire show. Thankfully, this was one task I had in the bag while the other parents went into panic mode. In an early chat during class, I subtly revealed my current career path. One mom had the good sense to make a note of it and cornered me in the Ladies Room to ask how I intended to execute the final product. She was tall and intimidating so I immediately sang like a canary giving her a basic sewing lesson in front of the hand dryer. I knew I’d made the right move when she said –“Good idea. Now, don’t tell those others how to do this. I want our kids to be the only ones who look good.” Now that is a mother after my own heart. In contrast, another mother – that nasty hag who spent days complaining about how foreigners with accents should not be in charge of teaching children because no can understand them, before I smacked her down- looked at me and in her nasty hag voice said- “Hey, we know what you do for a living and you don’t get to make some awesome costume that will make our kids all look stupid. That’s not fair. Got it?” She might as well have just said – “Game on.” Oh and, PS Nasty Hag, mocking foreigners isn’t fair either unless you’re married to one!
With a bit of textile engineering genius and some fiberfill, I made the cutest little snowman this side of Frosty. I even made him a fleece top hat and contrasting scarf. I successfully sculpted two snowballs and tacked on some coal-like buttons and when I shoved the Midget inside, it was perfect. In my eyes- in the eyes of the Midget, not so much.
“Is everybody going to have a snowman like this Mom?”
“No honey, everyone else will have a crappy snowman. You will be the only one with such an awesome snowman.”
“But will the other kid’s costumes be fat like mine?”
“Probably not sweetie because their mommies suck at making snowmen.”
“Are you sure this is what Ms. Svetlana wants?”
“I’m sure this is what she wants, she just doesn’t know this is what she wants.”
“Ok Mom. If you’re sure.”
Fast forward to dress rehearsal. The snowman on the right was wearing a white sweatshirt stuffed with grocery bags. I assumed he was playing the Hoarding Snowman. The snowman on the left was clad in a Hawaiian shirt with a pillow stuffed beneath and a black ski-cap. I surmised he was Breaking and Entering Snowman. The snowman who’s mother accosted me in the bathroom was a distant second runner up to mine but without the proper training his mom didn’t have the skills to form him into 2 snowballs so he looked more like a fat kid in a white t-shirt but he was cool with it. And true to form, Nasty Hag’s snowman didn’t have a costume because she claimed to not understand Ms. Svetlana’s instructions due to her heavy accent. But without a doubt, my SnowMidget was the most dazzling. Parents and kids alike were jealous. Everyone was enamored except for the Midget. From across the room at the end of the lineup of snowmen I heard a little yelp and then a “Mommy, can you come here? I think I’m going to cry.”
“Why are you going to cry buddy? You look great.”
“But I don’t look like everyone else.”
“Damn right you don’t. You’re a Sax 5th Ave snowman and they’re all Dollar General snowmen.”
“But Mom, I think I need to be a Dollar General snowman too.”
Ugh, the burden of greatness.
One week later we returned to dress rehearsal with an unstuffed snowman, still more fab than the Dollar General Snowman Brigade but not nearly as adorable as the Sax 5th Ave snowman of the week prior. Mommy once again spent a few hours stitching coal eyes, a carrot nose, whimsical mouth and little mittens onto a plain white shirt. Boring. I was sad about my loss until the Nasty Hag’s snowman showed up in a karate uniform 6 inches too short and a hat that lost it's ball-fringe before the opening number. Clearly the foreigners had this one in the bag.
My willingness to make a second costume and then stand in the backrow and cheer like a Muppet on speed has kept me in my rockstar status for a while longer. And this Wednesday when the Midget struts it for the final performance, I will probably be too busy weeping with pride to care what his costume looks like.
Though in the end I did get something out of my original creation – an hour long Christmas card photo shoot in our back with the Midget clad in full snowman. I may be a sucker but I still have the power.