Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Back to me, myself and I
Before I had a kid, I remember hearing other parents refer to themselves in the third person when talking to their children. You know you've heard it before. It goes something like this: "Mama's going to change your diaper now" or "Give mommy a kiss." Back then, this third-person talk would drum up in me a mixture of astonishment, pity and wonder. What happens to people when they have kids? They forget how to speak properly? They only identify as mommy or daddy and not themselves anymore? Egad. I vowed I would never...
And now guess what I find myself doing ALL OF THE TIME. I try, and try, but I can't help it. I open my mouth around A and it's "Mommy this" and "Mommy that." Sometimes, I don't even notice that I'm doing it. It's gross.
I've given some serious thought to what causes such behavior, and I think I've got it. As a new parent, you want - sometimes desperately - for your kid to identify you as parent, protector, that-really-nice-person-who-wipes-my-bum. You put all of this time and effort in - feeding them, and wiping up puke, and washing poopy clothes - and you crave that little bit of credit that comes along with the title "Mom." So you are on a mission (subconsciously) to drill it into their heads. I am mommy, I am mommy, I am mommy.
This morning I dropped A off at my mom's house on the way to work. As I headed out the door, I shouted good-bye into the house (and don't forget no TV, and naps when he's crabby and everything else I feel the need to remind her of even though she already knows). He looked right at me and gave me a big smile with "that's-my-mom" written all over it. I think he knows. In fact, I'm pretty sure of it. So henceforth, I vow to only call myself "me" or "I" or whatever first-person word is appropriate. (If you hear otherwise, please, please call me out on it.)