Relationship

I’m using Ben 10 as a babysitter

I admitted it. I’m becoming a Stepford mom. The genuinely loving smile when I meet the Kid at the school gate now only seems to survive for an hour or two before dying out and being replaced by a plastic robotic grin as the motorcycle speeds up and the tire screeching noises begin to fade. seriously irritate me already. brittle tolerance threshold. And then I do. After the feeding frenzy and battle of wills to get homework done, I need 10 minutes of peace and quiet (which, like magic, can suddenly and unintentionally turn into an hour). So I put the TV on Cartoon Network and, God love her, lady luck must be showering me with rose petals if Ben 10 Ultimate Alien is on. I can disappear quite happily to do the laundry, sit down to check my emails while the kitty harasses me, actually whatever I feel like happily, in the blissful knowledge that the Kid is safe on the couch (or maybe mugging the cookie). tin but, well, I’ve fought enough battles for one day) with his best friends, Ben and Humungousaur, to keep him company.

Before anyone starts the lesson, I know better than to and, yes, I truly treasure my time with Kid, but I challenge any mom, especially a single mom with little to no support, to deny that a couple of free hours every now and then is the only thin thread that holds his sanity together. I fully admit that when I read an article with a mother who says “Oh yeah, I play on the floor with little Jimmy for 12 hours a day”, I think she is lying. Yes, a great fat fiber. It’s quite possible that she did that for the first two weeks after giving birth to little Jimmy, but probably due to the fact that it hurt too much to get up from the floor once she’d slipped there.

I’d love to want to spend all day every day by the Kid’s side inventing new games, posing as a ramp for his motorcycle, chasing him around the park like an Olympic athlete, but that’s the bottom line: I don’t want to do that. 24/7. He would be cheating on him if he pretended I did because, even at such a young age, he knows when Mommy is no longer having fun and the “quality” element of our quality time together would be lost. My personal belief is that a daily dose of 2 or 3 hours of pure engagement with each other, talking, reading or playing with no distractions, can be more rewarding than spending 12 hours feigning interest in whatever little Jimmy does. One additional thing I’ve noticed is that Kid has his own independent streak about him. As long as she knows mom is somewhere within arm’s reach, she’s more than happy watching TV, going out to do her things, or playing outside with her friends, and she’s no longer dependent on me as her only source of entertainment.

So this is to give my sincerest thanks and appreciation to (a) the teachers and other caregivers who have the stamina and patience to take care of our little Jimmys and (b) Ben 10 and his fantastical alien ways to entertain Kid for that I can enjoy a little of my time from time to time.

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