Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Don't Listen To Your Mother

I always thought that if I had a daughter, I'd want her to be exactly like me.  I'd want her to have big dreams and a sense of wonder... to be cautiously curious about the world but never be afraid to take a leap of faith... to believe in true love, second chances, and the idea that all people are inherently good. 
Now that I've watched her grow over the last four months I'm realizing that Mackenzie has already begun to develop her own personality, and I'm starting to think about the things I don't want her to learn from me. 

I don't share my toys.
Anyone who knows me well is fully aware of the fact that I'm a complete and utter psychopath when it comes to cleanliness and clutter.  Not only am I anal retentive about keeping things immaculate, I'm borderline obsessive/compulsive when it comes to keeping things orderly. If a candlestick is a quarter of an inch out of place, steam starts coming out of my ears and I may start to hyperventilate. 

This is particularly problematic when it comes to having guests at our house or sharing my clothes.  Friends and family know how crazy I am and jokingly will ask if they can sit on the couch (yes) or if they're allowed to put their feet on the coffee table (not so much).  
This is sure to be a problem when Mackenzie starts having play dates and birthday parties. I'm quickly realizing that I'm going to have to start being a little more flexible in this department.  While it's easy to keep everything pristine and perfect now that Mackenzie is an infant, I have a feeling the days of germ-free toys and unstained furniture are numbered.  And even though I'll teach her to put things back where she found them and to keep her room clean, I'll be damned if she goes through life getting exasperated by pillows that aren't thoroughly fluffed or window shutters that aren't perfectly aligned.

I refuse to nap.
With all the pillow fluffing and shutter adjusting, there aren't enough hours in the day as it is.  When Mackenzie goes down for a nap I give in to my inner demons and either clean, do laundry, or restock the nursery with diapers and wipes that have to be retrieved from the garage.
At this rate, I have a feeling my aversion to naps will catch up with me one day and I'll have to convince Mackenzie that she's really not missing out on anything fun when she's all alone in her crib.

I fail to follow directions.
I recently decided to be proactive and put together the Exersaucer that had been sitting in our garage for the last few months.  Rather than wait for a weekend when Doug would be home and available to help, I lugged the box up two flights of stairs and began to piece together the base and legs.  Mackenzie was in awe as she watched me assemble the big, bright pieces, eyeing the parrot and alligator toys that attach to the tray table. 
Of course the instructions were complete shit and impossible to follow, but I remained patient (a huge accomplishment for me) and kept at it.  Nothing could beat the look on my daughter's face when this monstrosity was complete and she could finally sit and play with the jungle-themed activity center. 
While I struggled to match the pieces, Mackenzie started to get drowsy so I put her down for a nap.  
I returned to my project and managed to get halfway through the instructions before I realized that three pieces were missing. After cursing the manufacturer and the retail giant that sold me this stupid thing, I had no other alternative but to dismantle it. 
As I put the remaining parts in the box Mackenzie woke up, only to find the colorful, fun toys had disappeared.  She seemed so disappointed, I nearly cried. 
The Exersaucer Debacle
While she stared at the box, all packed up, I wondered if I'd scarred her for life. I saw her... years from now, sitting with her therapist discussing how her youth could've been so much better had her mother not been so obstinate and just followed instructions (the first being that you MAKE SURE ALL PARTS ARE INCLUDED in the box before starting)
Maybe one day I'll learn.
But this debacle was reminiscent of the time Doug and I decided it would be a good idea to celebrate our wedding anniversary with a bottle of champagne while putting together our new gas grill.  Not only did the damn thing come with a million pieces, there was an *addendum* to the instructions that I completely missed (I was in charge of reading directions and dictating to Doug.)  Eight hours later we were hungover but our gas grill was finally finished. 
And I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that I completely ignore my GPS -- the mother of all directions -- because I don't think that "Becky", the woman whose voice lives inside the unit, knows where she's going. 
There have been numerous occasions where I tell Becky to fuck off because she can't get from point A to point B without taking the longest route possible.  I was even cursing her in between contractions on our way to the hospital the day Mackenzie was born. 
Of course, Becky always gets me where I need to be, and she's usually smarter than I am. That doesn't stop me from thinking I know better, no matter how many times I get burned.

I don't like to get dirty.
A few years ago my mother, sister, and I had reservations to have brunch near the skating rink in Rockefeller Center. 
It was a miserably rainy March afternoon and I was in New York for work. 
My mom drove in from Jersey and my sister took the train in from Brooklyn.  The three of us met up a few blocks from the restaurant and decided to walk the rest of the way in the rain and wind. 
We laughed as our umbrellas turned inside out and giggled as we jumped in puddles. 
When we finally arrived at Rockefeller Center we were a hot mess: legs drenched to our knees, boots covered in city sludge, makeup running down our cheeks, stringy wet hair stuck to our faces. 

It was the most innocent fun I'd had in years.

But I'll admit it; I've never enjoyed getting dirty. 
I was the girl who played pee-wee soccer but didn't want to touch the ball. (Needless to say the coach -- my dad! -- never put me in the game.)
I don't like to camp. 
I don't like the mud. 
I swam in a lake once and can still smell it on me. 
I never wanted to play with bugs. 
And while the beach is my favorite place in the world, I would never, EVER roll around in wet sand. 

But even though girls will be girls and are less likely than boys to dig in the dirt, I'll want Mackenzie to pet a salamander, finger paint, squish her toes into the goop at the bottom of a pond, get grass stains on her knees, sleep outside under the stars, and climb trees.

Because, before you know it, you're too old and too afraid to try new things and squeal with delight as you do them. 

1 comment:

  1. i knew it! Parker was terrorizing your house and i was so worried!! I'm loving your blog, I totally relate to everything you're saying. Plus, now you'll have it to remember these times with mackenzie