May 7th, 2012
Goodness. The week has whizzed by. Work has been busy, life is busy, and in it all, I’ve actually been feeling better than I have in ages. The RRBB has started saying, “Mama.” It sounds like he’s half-Italian, and comes out, “Mumaa,” but it’s the most heart-filling thing in the world. When he started smiling, that was something. When he rolled over, that was something else, when he said, “Mumaa,” the other day as I left for work my heart cracked. And then, when we all went outside to see me off to work, there was a woman across the street with bleached-out short hair, and RRBB pointed to her and said, “Mumaa!” So, maybe he thinks all women with hair like mine are called “Mummy.” Who knows. It was very funny.
Up until last week, when I would say to him, “RRBB, where’s Mummy’s nose?” He would point to his own nose. “Where are Mummy’s eyes?” He would point to his own eyes, and so on. I found it comforting that he, in a sense, could not define himself outside of me. For the longest time, even when he was growing inside me, I wondered how he would know me when he was on the outside. How would he come to realize that I was his mother, how would he feel about me, would I be enough for him in my ever-depleted state. I mean, there are so many definitions of what a mother is — a baby doesn’t have to grow inside of you for someone to be its mother, but until he had some way of talking about it, I was never really convinced that my RRBB knew what I was — who I was sure, but that’s a very different thing.
Philosophically, I’ve been thinking a lot about mothers over the last little while. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with not having mine for the majority of my adult and young adult life. There was an article in the gossips the other day about how Gwyneth wants us all to stop judging each other, and then there’s all the hullabaloo over The Conflict, which I’m going to refrain from talking about only because I haven’t read the book yet (and I’m not sure if I will; I’m quite happy being the feminist I am, the working mother, AND someone who practiced attachment parenting while I was well enough to do so). It’s not enough that I define myself, I read, therefore I am, I write, therefore I am, I watch TV, therefore I am, I love, therefore I am, but now I’m being defined for the rest of my life by this other person — this person I created. So, it’s not enough that all the other moms getting their good shoes stuck in the playground sand are wondering about one another, passively judging how their kids are acting towards mine, and so on, we all have to be worried about how badly we’ll flapjack up our children too.
It’s amazing to me how language develops, how his language is developing, I should say. He’s been saying a version of “Daddy” (“Daddend”) for months, and it was spectacular. But in the last few weeks, since he surpassed that 18-month mark, it’s like a whole new world — not full sentences, but concepts like, “more!” and really recognizing objects like “plane” and then making the sounds that they make. But what of the “concepts” of “Mumaa” and “Daddend” — how do they relate in his giant brain that’s working a mile a minute. That’s the part that I wish I could climb inside his ear and find out, and I’m sure I’ll still be wondering what he thinks of us when he’s a teenager and we’re really flapjacking old.
Anyway, I’m rambling now. All I can say is that I find this whole motherhood thing utterly fascinating. When I’m not exhausted, sick, pulling out my hair, frustrated, exhausted, tired, exhausted, and oh, exhausted.