Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A little matter of experience and interpretation

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
"Mama, don't push me," she says sternly as I interrupt her latest version of KING OF THE MOUNTAIN (my shoulders being the mountain this time) by putting her back on solid ground. "I didn't push you," I tell her, "I helped you repel down the foothills."

She clamors up my chest and over my shoulders again, this time all slit-eyed and daring me to thwart her plans. I drag her halfway down the mommy mountain, roll her over my knees and prop her back up into a sitting position, all the while she clings to two fistfuls of my uncombed hair. This time, however, her tone changes: 'NOOOOO, I wanna stay wit you, mama. I wanna stay wit yooooooou!'

Lately, I've noticed, she's been playing this game more and more. "But I wan YOU, mama" has become her mantra, especially when mama wants to be left in peace.

It's positively heartbreaking. It makes me ashamed to think about all the times I haven't been fully present with her because I am lost in my own inner world. I know that it won't be long until she doesn't want me within sight distance, let alone acting as the chair (or the mountain) beneath her.

However much I want to eat my toast or drink my coffee in peace right now is how much I'll want her to be her raucous little-girl self later, times two.

This morning, as we have the past four mornings, we trundled out of the house forgetting rain gear. We were late again, which meant no sit-down breakfast. A cup of "hot milk," an apple and a bag full of cereal were packed to go. I strap her into the car, hand her the breakfast and go back for her "um-bella," which she insists on propping above her head as we drive so she can munch on her "seer-we-wool" and stay dry, because it's "rainy out, mama."

I wonder, as we are driving along, if anyone will notice the car seat adorned with a blue and yellow-polka-dotted umbrella bobbing along with the unheard rhythm of The Wiggles. I wonder, if I were still the me of my previous life -- the childless life that seems as if it took place 100 years ago -- and I saw this traveling circus drive by, would I laugh or shrug or roll my eyes?

I contemplate the phenomenon of such annoyances, the behaviors I would have once called bratty and reserved for other people's children, but I can't sustain the notion for too long anymore. And, the fact is, I really don't care what other people think. I am just glad to be shown the error of my youthful ways. I'm glad to be laughing now.


Mom101 said...

We can't win, can we. We (like our daughers) just want what we can't have. Good lesson for both of us?

Meanwhile the only thing cuter than a little girl in purple and red jumping in puddles is your little girl in purple and red jumping in puddles.

tracey said...

That was a lovely post. It made me weepy. I guess it's that your thoughts ring true for me. Thanks for that perspective. I need it sometimes.