Sam and I have been locked in an argument about my parenting skills. You see, he thinks that I do not have eyes in the back of my head. And I know that I do.
He is pretty convinced that he is right. He tells me, “Mama, you only have eyes in the front,” and pokes his little fingers at my eyeballs for emphasis. “But look,” I respond, “look right behind all this hair in the back of my head. My eyes are right there. That’s why mamas have long hair.” He digs around in my curls, parts my hair this way and that, just to be sure. “No mama, you are being a clown,” he tells me, laughing.
Despite the physical evidence and his conviction, he does bring up the topic quite often — especially when he is doing something he is not supposed to behind my back. That’s how I know I need to turn around to make sure he is not eating a bug, or drawing on the walls, or stuffing toast in his ears. “You see, I do have eyes in the back, I caught you!” I tell him and suddenly, shaken in his belief, he needs to start digging around in my hair again.
I often think about how true it is that when we become parents, we end up saying things that we swore we would never, ever utter to our own children. My mom used to drive me crazy with “I see and know everything because I have eyes in the back of my head,” mostly because it was really true. By the time I walked the one block between my school and our apartment, my mom would know about that C on my geography test and that walking directly home involved a quick stop at the ice cream shop. It was infuriating to think that somehow, I was always watched by some secret neighborhood system of innocent-looking old ladies and shopkeepers who were really my mom’s spies.
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