Their police records (along with their bed sheets) are lily white. They think a “shakedown” is what you do at the end of Jazzercise class. And they’d sooner eat razor blades than a plate of manicotti. But cross the Mommy Mafia and they’ll whack your social standing faster than you can utter the words Cosa Nostra.
I should know. I did it two years ago, and I’ve been paying for it ever since.
Back in 2006, I attended one of their associate’s exclusive playgroups, only to rat them out later by writing in my column that I felt out of place in their world of Mercedes and monograms. That’s when the manicured claws of the Mommy Mafia came out. They flooded my blog with nasty comments. They threatened to sue me. They even claimed I wore too much make-up. Now that hurt.
Understandably shaken, I kept a low profile after that, wearing a wig and dark glasses whenever I found myself on their turf, which wasn’t easy, considering it included Pottery Barn Kids, the country club pool and the annual Nutcracker Ballet.
Despite my precautions, there were incidents. Once, I noticed a curious finger-drawn-across-the-neck move directed at me from a bobbed blonde pushing a MacLaren stroller at the mall. Another time, I found a Crane notecard stuffed in my windshield in the zoo parking lot. Hope you enjoyed the fishes, it read. Maybe soon you’ll be swimming with them! Although I couldn’t prove who’d written it, I did know that the hearts dotting each “i” were standard Mommy Mafia procedure. Still, after a couple years had passed, I figured the worst was over. Surely these soldiers had called off their cavalier King Charles spaniels.
I should have known that a Mommy Mafia vendetta never dies.
Lately, I’ve been gathering my courage (along with my diaper bag) to take my kids to our downtown library’s weekly storytime, a Mommy Mafia stronghold. After a few weeks of singing “Let’s Make a Rainbow” without incident, I decided to let my kids play afterward in the children’s section. At one point, my 17-month-old son was standing up against the library’s picture window. A 3-year-old boy approached and tried to push him out of his way. “He’s just a baby,” I said gently. “If you push him like that, he’ll fall down.” The boy looked up at me in horror and then hurled himself to the floor, where he assumed the fetal position and began screaming at the top of his lungs.
As I stared at him, his mother ran over and scooped up her son. “What’s wrong?” she said fearfully. “McBailey, what’s wrong?”
“I’ll tell you what’s wrong,” a snippy voice said from behind me. “That little boy poked your son in the eye.” I turned and found myself nose-to-nose with what looked to be a high-ranking Mommy Mafia member. She was pointing at my son. “He did it,” she told the mother.
“What?!” I said, dumbfounded. “Are you kidding? He did not!”
“Oh yes he did,” she smirked with an evil grin, scooping up her daughter and getting the hell out of there.
“I’ll poke you in the eye,” I muttered, before turning back to the mom. “Look,” I said, “my son did not poke your son in the eye. I was standing right here watching them. Mc … uh … McBailey just got upset because he wanted to get around my son and he couldn’t.”
The mother wouldn’t even look at me. “Use your words and tell me what’s wrong, McBailey,” she said, sobbing through clenched teeth. “Use your words, darling.”
I stood there, flummoxed, barely registering that the rest of the mommies in the play area had formed a semi-circle around me. This was a classic Mommy Mafia hit.
Desperate, I reached into my diaper bag, fumbling around for something, anything, with which to defend myself. Suddenly, I found it — an open packet of Fruit Gummies! I poured some into my palm and offered them to the first Mommy Mafia spawn I saw. Eagerly, the kid reached for my hand. His mom gasped. “No, Millhouse,” she said tightly. “We! Don’t! Eat! Additives! Or! Preservatives!!” She snatched him up and fled. I turned to the next kid.
“Oh well, more for you sweetie,” I said kindly. Her mother grabbed her by the hand and pulled her toward the elevators. Before I knew it, the Mommy Mafia was scattering like a bunch of Lilly Pulitzer-clad cockroaches.
Once the children’s area had cleared, I sighed in relief, gathered up my children and headed home. But while I had won the battle, I’m coming to terms with the knowledge that I may never win the war. That night when I crawled into bed, the decapitated head of a Cabbage Patch Kid was waiting for me under the sheets.
Clearly, this is far from over.