August 13, 2009

Helicopter Moms: A slick liar is she

(Editor's note: Sometimes it's hard to tell whether you're tackling motherhood in the 21st century -- or being tackled by it. This is the second in a series by UPI writers.)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- When my youngest child was 2 and supposed to be napping, she discovered the wonders of petroleum jelly.

We lived in an older two-story house with one bathroom (that's a whole other column) and I decided to kill two birds with one stone, visiting the head and checking on the little one in a single trip.

Trip is actually an unfortunate choice of words -- as soon as my first Chuck Taylor hit the shiny tile bathroom floor, I found myself airborne, in the beginning of a pratfall that would have made Dick Van Dyke proud. As I flew through the air, I tried to grab onto the side of the bathtub -- but my hand slid off the porcelain like it was, well, greased.

As I carefully picked myself off the floor and gingerly made my way back toward the door, I spied the empty jar of Vaseline on the floor between the toilet and tub. An extra-large jar.

The jar was large enough to coat the floor, the outside of the tub, the toilet seat, sink and mirror with the thick slippery goo.

Still slowly sliding my way across the tiles -- with the hallway carpet my goal -- I had yet another surprise when our cat Kat flew through the bathroom door, head-to-stumpy tail slick with, you guessed it, Vaseline.

By this time, little Miss Notasleep heard the commotion and was standing in the doorway watching Mommy and Kat sliding through the room like Bambi and Thumper on the ice in the Disney classic.

I got close enough to grab her shoulder for leverage, looked down and asked the fatal question: Did you do this?

No, she answered with all the sincerity a 2-year-old can muster while lying directly to her mother's face. It wasn't me at all. I think it was Scruffy.

I didn't check our Norfolk terrier's paws for evidence. Besides, I knew for a fact he had been downstairs for the past hour watching Guiding Light.

Are you sure you didn't maybe grease the bathroom floor, tub, toilet, sink, mirror and cat by mistake? I queried.

Nope, I'm sure it wasn't me. I promise. You must believe me.

And that was the start of a never-ending string of obvious lies, or what I still refer to as a lifetime of Vaselining the cat.

Caught in the most obvious of lies with absolutely no wiggle room to get out, she will still look me straight in the face, bat her eyes with tears welling up and say: No one in this house ever believes me.

A truer phrase was never uttered.