The Mom Filter

Tired human beings generate a lot of what we call “human error.” But there’s “human” error, and then there’s “mommy” error, which is often just a failure of The Filter. You know the one. The Filter is the one that kicks in when a relative mentions casually around your five-year-old how many Christmas Eves she was up until midnight, and you jump in quickly with, “Waiting up for Santa?” because you know those little ears are listening.

The Filter primarily exists to prevent little ears from hearing EVERYTHING LITTLE EARS ARE STRAINING TO HEAR. My filter has failed on occasion, like that time I got really stressed and three-year-old Sally started shouting a new and fascinating word that rhymes with bucket. I stubbed my toe about six times before I finally fine-tuned my Filter. Now the word that comes hurtling out of me in pain and frustration is the kid-safe variation FUAHH—UDGESICLES!

But Filter failures do still occur. Not so much in the presence of the saintly Dr. Awesome, whose refined speech makes me sound like a sailor. Tonight Bitsy came into the office at bedtime, arms up and crying, “Nuh nuh, nuh!” (Translation: Nurse, nurse!) Tired mommy, trying to write, says thoughtlessly, “Oh, Bitsy wants some boob.” And Boo, streaking down the hallway after his bath (because when are little boys dressed? only when they absolutely have to be) declares at the top of his lungs, “Mommy, I want some boob too!”

This was hysterical, but this was not the Filter failure. The Filter failure occurred immediately thereafter when I laughed loudly at him and thoughtlessly replied, “You can’t have any boob until you’re married!”

You can imagine where that got me.

So, sitting in the big comfy glider in the kids’ room, giving Bitsy her nightime nurse, and being bounced on like a trampoline by Boo at the same time (now at least in half his pajamas with his teeth brushed) I get to hear the boy suddenly ask me, “Mommy, can I have boob when I’m married?” I knew I should nip this in the bud, but I said, “Go ask your father,” because I was suddenly choking with laughter. The kids pick up on mommy laughter like sharks smelling blood. At that moment even angelic Bitsy looked up at me and said, “Boob.” Hahaha.

We finally attempted to divert the fascination of this subject for the boy by saying, “Well, you’re just too big for breastmilk, and you’ll never drink it again.” And then, with all the little ears in the room, and simply not thinking, I turned to my husband and said, “Wow, I didn’t think when I said that how it might come back and bite me in the –”

Fortunately, Doc cut me off at the “pass.”


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