The other night I was sat in the middle of my living room floor, surrounded by piles of laundry, engaging in my usual cycle of procrastination, guilt, and self-loathing. I turned on the tv. It will be nice to have some background noise, I told myself. I changed my mind several times about what I wanted to watch, in the background, of course. Parenthood? Too serious, Heart of Dixie? Too hunky, Sherlock? Too British. The list of excuses was longer than the options.
The laundry rolled its eyes and called me a “time waster.” It was probably right.
Eventually I found the movie The Fantastic Four. Huzzah! For those of you who aren’t familiar with this crime-fighting quartet, they are a group of scientists who were struck by cosmic rays while on a mission in outer space. After their exposure to the radioactive planetary particles, they began to discover that they had developed strange abilities: super stretchy limbs, invisibility, spontaneous combustion, and hulkish (not the green kind) strength.
They were now superheroes.
As I was gradually sucked farther into the movie, laundry be damned, I started noticing that some of their powers seemed eerily familiar. Wait a minute, I have some of those powers too! Slowly, I began to formulate a theory in my mind.
My kids must be radioactive!
After years of prolonged exposure to their excretions, I have started to develop abilities similar to those portrayed in the film. Who knew this was really a documentary about parenting!
Each of the characters in the movie possessed one of my mommy super-abilities.
Mr Fantastic– What mom hasn’t developed the ability to contort her body into all sorts of unnatural positions? For example, in the car I frequently manage to drive with one hand on the wheel, the other hand passing cookies to the baby in the rear facing car seat directly behind my seat. Then I can stretch the other way and pick up the toy car that has finally rolled under the front passenger seat after the three year old dropped it for the fourteenth time.
Invisible Girl– I often wonder whether I have spontaneously disappeared when trying to attract the attention of a stubborn toddler. When my three year old is playing games on his ipad, watching tv, or just feels like getting a rise out of me, he will look right through me. As if I’m not there. I have even gone so far as to place myself between him and the tv so he’ll listen, but he just cranes his neck to see around me. One time he stretched so far he fell out of the la-z-boy. I guess he hasn’t developed the super stretchy power.
Human Torch– On days when I haven’t had enough sleep (all days of the week ending with a Y), I can go from zero to nuclear meltdown in a matter of seconds. We’ll just be going about business as usual: the kids causing carnage and me following them around with a dust pan.
Suddenly I can’t take it anymore. I feel like I’ll explode if I hear one more whine, one more shriek, or have to thwart one more attempt to crawl into my lap while I’m on the toilet. This morning, they were both climbing on me in the bathroom, fighting over my lap as they went. Finally I snapped. That’s it! No one touches mommy!!!
The Thing– I have developed superhuman strength since having children. I can carry a week’s worth of groceries into the house in one trip, because going back would cause the baby to melt down and the three year old to lock the garage door (yes, this has happened to me!). I once walked out of Target carrying my obligatory $80 worth of trinkets, my baby strapped to my chest, a diaper bag slung over my shoulder, my purse, and a tantruming 40-pound toddler in tow.
Just another day in the life of Super Mommy.
Have you developed any comic book-style superpowers since having children? I’d love to hear about them.