Monday, February 11, 2008

Yes, That One is Mine

Oh yes, the kid with the halo of blond hair who is spinning in circles... That one is mine... Sometimes I feel like Steve Martin in Parenthood surrounded by Rick Maranis-types who are wondering about my parenting style.

Every parent I know has a favorite story or two that illustrates just how mortifying their kid is in public. Maya is still pretty little. At two and half, she often embarrasses us with the same behavior that we applaud and adore at home. For instance, Maya is now consistently dressing herself. This is usually convenient, given that Elliot frequently decides to end her (hour long) fast around the time Maya needs to get dressed. Unfortunately her latest fashion favorite includes a red wool sweater over yellow shorts with socks featuring frogs with little pink crowns. Occasionally she likes to throw a dress on over the top of it all. It is all I can do to convince her to substitute a pair of brown pants (it is 8 degrees below today!).

You try escorting that little number to her ECFE class, where 90 percent of the other moms brought kids straight out of last week’s Baby Gap ad, and the remaining 10% at least had their shoes on the right foot.

And at her sports class last Saturday, Maya was the only kid to get bored throwing the little red bouncy balls into the baskets. She decided to play “puppy” instead, alternately licking Joe’s face and running wildly around the room with that yummy rubber ball between her teeth.

Oh, in the retelling all of this comes across as cute toddler stuff, but when you are in the moment, looking around at the other orderly children and the raised eyebrows of their parents, you can’t help but have a serious pang of parental guilt. “Next time,” I tell myself, “I’ll risk the tears and just force her into the cute little matching skirt outfit I bought last week…. Or I’ll at least make her put her shoes on the right feet.”

But I won’t. In fact, I had better reign in this parental embarrassment now. Because Maya’s only going to get better at embarrassing me (oh, I’ve heard the horror stories of loud, inappropriate observations in the grocery store). And because Maya is beginning to develop her own self-awareness. She is starting to care what the other kids in her little Friday class think, which translates into more success potty training, and um, more consideration of how she wants to dress (however unique her taste is!).

So yes, that’s my uniquely clad, strangely acting kid, and yes, as long as she’s not hurting herself or anyone else, I’ll let her do her own thing and try not to worry about how it reflects on me!


Emily said...

Have you heard about my little episode at the grocery store after I learned to talk? :)

Sarah Aadland said...

I have not... Do tell!

Emily said...

Let's just say my talking skills developed sooner than average, and I learned to walk a bit late! People would be super impressed with my conversation and then ask if I had a physical handicap when I crawled away!! Anyway - one day when mom was parking the car in the grocery parking lot, a lady almost ran into us. Well, mom called the lady a B****! A few minutes later when we were shopping and a different lady came up and saw me in the cart (cute as I was :) ha ha) she started saying "ooh hi little baby... you are soooo cute... ohhh you probably can't talk yet can you... say mmaaammaa" and i looked up and said "B****"... Mom was mortified!


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