So my friends, here’s the skinny. I have to come clean. I have to share with you in the honest hope that my personal trials, frustration, and anguish can help you understand yourself, and thus, my dear, dear compatriots, save yourself!
This weekend, I lay in bed, with tears of laughter leaking down my face, as my four-year old stood at the foot of the bed, half-naked, with her curly head stuck through the arm hole of her t-shirt, I had a shocking and terrifying realization–I’m not myself. Something in me has changed. That core, fundamental thing that made me, me, it’s, well, not gone, exactly. More just, bent.
But what? What had caused this shift in my consciousness? When did it start? Could it be reversed? Would I reverse it, if I could? This, clearly, was going to take some brain power. The kind of brain power that can only be fueled by coffee. So up I got, put on a housecoat that looks only moderately less ragged than Osama Bin Laden’s beard, untangled the t-shirt on a now furious, hysterical pre-schooler, and afixed my thinking cap. This was a question that was burning to be answered. I would get to the bottom of this issue. I mean, I was at stake!
After several cups of brain-builder (which, roughly, translates to 6 cups of coffee) I had a revelation, a breakthrough, an epiphany (and, honestly, some intense caffeine shakes)–I’m suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
Yes! Stockholm Syndrome!! The amazing disorder in which normal, healthy, intelligent, and moderately attractive people, when taken captive, begin to identify with, and grow sympathetic to, their captors. I’m the Patty Hearst of parenthood!
I see the pattern now: we are quietly, happily, and freely going about our lives, planning to do things, and actually having the time to get them done. Eating in restaurants, going to the theatre, peeing in complete privacy, and, well, simply put, enjoying our lives. Then suddenly, there they are! These small, sleepless, loud, aggravating people. They burst in to our lives and homes surrounded by mess, and they make themselves at home. It’s all so clear now.
We instantly become captive to these demanding, squalling, insistent little fungi. They may as well be holding a gun to our heads. We’re trapped in the house, held hostage by these tiny tyrants. So what do we do? What can we do? We fall prey to Stockholm Syndrome. We start to relate to them, to empathize with them, to understand them, and I dare say, to love them. They recreate us in their image, and we’re lost! We used to wake when our bodies told us too (when we’d had enough sleep–remember?!! Remember having enough sleep?! Sweet Jesus, what a dreamy notion), now, we wake to their military-like precision–6:30 a.m. on the dot! We used to watch intense, dark, and sometimes sexy foreign films, now, the only exposure we get to world culture is through Dora the Explorer (Hola!), and that girl is about as sexy as potato (though the monkey’s not bad). We used to feel a sense of control over our future, now, we can’t even get control of our hair!
So when, after 20 years of parenting, as I’m lying in bed, watching my youngest, naked from the nipples down, struggle with a piece of clothing, in a scene so comic as to be sitcom worthy, the blindfold is pulled from my eyes and I can see what’s happened–I really have been kidnapped, and I’ve learned to live with it. I’ve learned to think and feel and relate to my knee-high captors. In fact, some days, (once, a couple of weeks ago, and maybe tomorrow) I’ve learned to love it.
Who knew that these grilled-cheese-eating-dirt-behind-the-ears-nose-picking terrorists were such masters of psychology!
I’ve been inculcated, my friends, but you don’t have to be (well, actually, at this point, there’s probably nothing you can do. If you’re reading this and understanding even a third of what I’m saying, you’re in too deep). You could try to fight the Stockholm Syndrome. You could be difficult, and fight the take-over. You could hold out for the cavalry to come and liberate you. But really, resistance is futile. Once you’ve invited them in, it’s all over. Just roll with it baby. I mean, yeah, we’ve lost ourselves, our personalities, and, mostly, our will to live (with out Thai food), but maybe, just maybe, if I could get one of those cute hats and jumpsuits like Patty, it wouldn’t be so bad!