BY LIANE KUPFERBERG CARTER
Maybe it starts when you realize rock concerts give you a headache. Or that you're offering to cut up other people's food. Or that you catch yourself ending a discussion with, "Because I'm the mother, that's why." You've reached a new level of motherhood. All the warning signs are there. You know you've crossed the threshold when:
1. You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal.
2. You want to take out a contract on the kid who broke your son's favorite toy and made him cry.
3. You have time to shave only one leg at a time.
4. You hide in the bathroom to be alone.
5. Your child throws up and you catch it.
6. Someone else's child throws up at a party and you keep eating.
7. You think Magic Markers should be a controlled substance.
8. Someone asks your profession and you hear yourself say, "my son's love slave."
9. You've mastered the art of placing large quantities of pancakes and eggs on a plate without anything touching.
10. Your child insists that you read Once Upon a Potty out loud in the lobby of Grand Central terminal, and you do it.
11. You cling to the moral high-ground on toy weapons; your child bites his toast into the shape of a gun.
12. You hope ketchup is a vegetable, because it's the only one your kid eats.
13. You convince your child that FAO Schwartz is a toy museum, not a store.
14. You can't bear the thought of your son's first girlfriend.
15. You hate the thought of his wife even more.
16. You find yourself cutting your husband's sandwiches into unusual shapes.
17. You fast-forward through the scene when the hunter shoots Bambi's mother.
18. You become a member of three aquariums because your kid loves sharks.
19. You obsess when your child clings to you upon parting during his first month at school, then obsess when he skips in without looking back the second month.
20. You can't bear to give away baby clothes -- it's so final.
21. You hear your mother's voice coming out of your mouth when you say, "NOT in your good clothes."
22. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.
23. Your kid asks you what 69 is and you tell him, "the year the Mets won the World Series."
24. You use your own saliva to clean your kid's face.
25. You read that the average 5-year-old asks 437 questions a day and feel proud that your kid is "above average."
26. You hire a sitter because you haven't been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night checking on the kids.
27. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job," but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything.
Originally published in CHILD Magazine