Lets have a slow clap for the inventor of the Corn Popper Push toy. Just kidding. I despise you. I say that in the nicest way possible.
The corn popper is every mother’s greatest fear. It’s Kryptonite from the Universe of Motherhood. It has been weakening every mother’s powers since 1957. Every mother is susceptible to its corruption. A 30.5” villainous character uses this weapon of mass destruction (WMD) strategically, striking just as you sit down to watch the newest episode of Fixer Upper.
The point that this cheerful toy is the Achilles heel for moms everywhere is often overlooked. When you’re expecting a new life to enter your family, everyone shares the strengths of being a mom but no one really warns you about the hidden weaknesses. For this reason, I was prepared for a delicious baby, but I was not at all prepared for the corn popper to enter my life.
Oh, happy day.
Friends and family gather to celebrate your sweet baby’s first birthday. With one eye closed and a nervous twitch of the lip, you watch your precious child open gifts praying the corn popper is not amongst them. Then it happens. Your child hollers with excitement as the torn wrapping paper uncovers the brightly colored balls in the clear dome.
Your arms stretch in an outward and tense manner and your eyes widen. You cannot escape it. The corn popper is magnetically attracted to every child’s playroom.
Cue the mommy stink eye. Through closed teeth and a fake smile, you utter, “What did I ever do to you?” to your cousin. She hands you a playful wink. She’s great, you love her.
You cock your head 10 degrees left and rub the corner of your eye as thoughts of physical harm dance through your head. But it’s ok because you’ll be invited to her child’s birthday party in three months and you’ll be sure to get her something equally or even more annoying… like an entire DVD collection of Caillou. You are instantly gratified imagining yourself wrapping the annoying, four-year old Canadian in birthday paper to present to your cousin’s baby.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “How can this classic toy cause such discomfort?” Here’s the thing, you work hard as a mother. Your fingers are raw from cleaning the house (or not). Your back aches from carrying laundry baskets up and down flights of steps (or not). You slave over the stove all while entertaining your hyperactive sugarbugs (or not). For all the backbreaking things you do (or don’t do, its fine. Thinking about doing these things is exhausting too), all you ask in return is 60 minutes of peace and quiet each evening- preferably as you binge watch your favorite HGTV show.
Chipper and Jo are about to air, so you grab your favorite snack, which probably starts with Pinot and ends with Noir. You settle into the corner of the couch. You know the spot that concaves just enough so that your tightly hugged by the couch but not sucked into its crack with the remote? Yeah, that spot. You relish in .50 seconds of pure relaxation and bliss.
POP. POP POP POP.
The chitter-chatter of the balls while you try to watch Fixer Upper is offensive. You make a sharp turn off restful street on to stressed-out street. Your face contorts from a loving face of Mother Goose to a clown face from a Stephen King horror novel.
It’s a fact, this vulgar, plastic element has the power to split you into two entities: Good Mommy vs Evil Mommy. Good Mommy lovingly whispers, “Let them be little.” Part of you, like maybe a quarter, is encouraged to appreciate and share in the humor of this moment. But Good Mommy is weakened by the poppity-pop noise and is not able to handle the adversities of this childhood memory.
The popper’s irritating sound drowns out Chip and Joanna’s charming dialogue causing tightness in your chest. This WMD permanently removes your abilities to think clearly. Suffering from high levels of physical and psychological stress, Evil Mommy emerges and the kid yelling begins.
Your child looks at you shell-shocked. The room is silent for 20 seconds. POP. Without hesitation, the delightful villain pushes your sanity just an inch further. Since exposure to the toys toxicity leads to superhuman abilities (obviously), you rip the toy from his grasp with as much force as Superman when he absorbs enough solar energy to move an entire planet.
In the midst of the chaos, you miss the Fixer Upper dramatic reveal. It’s a traumatic experience for all.
Flashback to when all you asked for was 60 minutes of peace and quiet. At this point, all you ask is that the couch sucks your child into the crack with the remote.
Since you cannot think rationally during your 20-40 year-old-something temper tantrum, I have some advice for you. Don’t even think of hiding the fun toy in the attic. The garage won’t work either. If you do, you’ll only think you won the battle, but like sharks who can smell a single drop of blood in the ocean, children use their senses to hone in on the push toy’s hiding spot in a 3,500 sq ft box.
These human sharks will be sure to surprise you with their findings when you have visitors entertaining your home. Of course, the visitors are always your little brother and his wife that do not have kids yet, so they can’t totally relate to this superhero battle. What they do understand, though, is that your children are really cute annoying.
POP. POP POP POP.
Your brother’s crossed arms, lack of eye contact and frequent huffs establishes that the corn popper can also affect non-mothers, though it is at a slower rate. So, like any good host would do, you shove the toy into a closet and apologize for the madness. That’s the moment you hear the deafening, high-pitched cry of your baby echo off the walls of your home. You eliminated the annoying sound of the corn popper but added the nail-scratching sound of a child’s cry. It’s the Catch-22 we all know and love. You are #notwinning this battle.
In other words, you are staring defeat in its clear, domed, brightly-colored eye. The corn popper continues to drain you of your strength. There is no doubt you may not be able to overcome this weapon but you will be able to protect yourself from its crippling effects. Because wine.
Wine is to you what the sun is to Superman. Wine has magical effects granting you the power to feel in charge of your life. Mother’s rely on wine to absorb into their bloodstream and convert to superhuman abilities, like telepathy and agility.
For instance, just enough wine gives you energy to read your child’s thoughts. On the other hand, too much wine will erase your mind. Be careful of that. Wink Wink.
The antihero eyes up the closet where the corn popper is being held hostage. Just as he begins to sprint across the room, you restrict his movements with your mind and the raise of your eyebrow. He cowers in fear to the corner of the room.
With a sip of wine, you also become quick and graceful. But too much wine will make you clumsy and fall over. Balance. Suddenly, you hear the rhythm of tiny feet approaching once more and, in a flash, you are standing in front of the closet. Your agility wins you the race. Triumphantly, you wave the toy above your head.
You radiate power and strength. You protect mothers’ sanity everywhere as you fight to overcome this evil noise maker. You govern your house on laws that there will be sixty minutes of quietness and respect for Chip and Joanna Gaines and their baby chicks. You lead your family with justice and because of that, you overcome the bad in spite of motherhood’s handcuffs.
You are mom, an icon of greatness.