Wednesday 20 July 2011

Getting Jacked

Before I had kids I had no idea what it meant to get jacked.  Not that it never happened to me, I'm sure it did, but I am at a loss as to think of a specific example because none stand out.  Now that I'm a mom, oh boy, do I know jack.  In case you are lucky enough to wonder what the hell it is I am talking about let me explain:  getting jacked is that conversational experience where you are trying to connect with another human being about the events in your life and that human being finds a way of making it all about them or, as is the case with MommyJacking, their kid.

Fortunately, I can say that the vast majority of parents I have spoken to do not engage in this behaviour.  Like most people they have enough self-control to work that shit into the conversation in a more considerate and organic way.  The bad news is that my good friend Myrna does this in every conversation I have with her.  It is literally impossible to say anything significant about my life, labouring under the delusion that she might actually be interested, without hearing some fascinating new tidbit (relevant or not) about her little darling, Java (yes, I named her Java because I'm drinking coffee right now.  Shut up.)

Myrna never goes on the internet and doesn't listen long enough to know I have a blog so I feel like I can vent about this here.  She is close enough to me that there is very little chance of being able to boot her out of my life altogether.  To highlight just how bad and out of place her behaviour is you will also need to know that Java isn't actually her daughter, just her relative's daughter that she looks after and is completely obsessed with.  To make matters even more annoying Java is close in age to Frack providing ample opportunities for baby-comparisons.  Example:

"It's great to see you Mommy, we haven't had a visit in a while.  What's new with you?"

"Well, we're excited because Frack took his first steps today, which we think is pretty early but-"

"Speaking of walking, just the other day Java was twirling pirouettes on a tightrope in the backyard.  She is so graceful!  Also she was wearing this adorbale little etc. etc. etc." (This can go on for a while.)

"So uh, Frack started calling me 'ma ma' the other day and-"

"Oh that reminds me, did I tell you that Java gives regular lectures at the community college about pacifier dependence?  It's so cute the way she says 'oral fixation'.  Everybody said so.  Wow, she is so special!"

"Umm, yeah.  She's pretty smart alright.  Is it a good college?  I was thinking about going back to-"

"Funny you should mention school.  Java's still only a baby but her parents think she's ready for school already.  She's really quite amazing you know.  Right from the minute she was born anyone could see that."

At first I thought there was something wrong with me.  Is it possible that I am jealous of a baby?  I examined my innermost emotions and couldn't find any actual jealousy there.  My feelings toward Java are that she is a sweet and engaging little girl.  So what was wrong with me?

Then one day the internet taught me that I was only responding in a normal way to insensitive and rude behaviour.  Under normal circumstances anyone would find this merely obnoxious.  Complicating matters is the fact that Frack is speech delayed.  This fact is something that exists in my life as a constant undertone of worry.  It is much harder for me when I compare him to his peers because it breaks my heart, but when I'm not doing that I take pride in his accomplishments and he is getting better all the time.  So I'm feeling a little defensive about him and I admit I'm not appreciating being held prisoner by a conversation whose dominating topic is how remarkably precocious Java's speech is, she must certainly be some kind of genius, everyone says so.

How sad it is that now I am avoiding Myrna to protect myself and my kids.  They are in the room during these conversations and Frack has ears that understand more than we can know right now.  I feel like a jerk because I should be able to rise above this and just put up with it.  Myrna is not the type you can talk to about this and I doubt she is capable of being objective and rational with anything Java related.

The good news is that I think I'm much more careful not to accidentally MommyJack any of my friends. After all, my kids are absolutely the best.  They are good looking and smart and athletic and creative and....

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