Friday, April 09, 2010

Mama's Gun

I never considered myself the motherly type. In fact, once I spread the news that I was pregnant, my own family seemed hesitant to respond immediately, lest it be some type of late April Fool's gag.

Even so, I have been pleasantly surprised that I've taken pretty well to the whole mommy thing. That's not to say that I'm the model mom. I let Cam eat a sucker to keep him still during an allergy test. I let him watch "Ni Hao, Kai Lan" (alone!) while I get ready for work. His dinner doesn't always include those recommended on the food pyramid. Actually, if I can get two of the pyramid's layers, I think I'm doing well.

So when I dropped Cam off at day care this morning, and was pretty much told that the providers were talking about me, I admit I was crushed. Boy-stands-you-up-for-the-prom crushed. Ace-an-interview-but- still-don't-get-the-job crushed. Stay-up-all-night-writing-and-still-get-an-F crushed.

It seems as though some of the ladies feel as though I'm not giving him enough in the morning before I bring him in. He's whiny, my secondhand source told me, so I must be bringing him in hungry.

Did I mention I was crushed?

No matter how irrational it may be, there are two things that I tie completely to my self worth; meaning, failing at one those means that I am a failure. Parenting is one of those things. On the surface, I'm angry. Angry that they have the nerve to talk about me behind my back, instead of asking me straight out what he eats in the morning (for the record, he gets a cup of milk and sometimes some cheerios, which he dutifully throws on the floor for Taz because he doesn't like eating at 6:30 a.m., which is 15 minutes after he wakes up. He can barely walk when he first wakes up, let alone eat.) Angry that they couldn't come to me after I made it a point to speak with them before he started eating breakfast at the day care during which conversation we discussed him drinking milk so as not to fill him up before breakfast (which is at 7:30).  Angry that instead of asking me to bring in sunscreen, they slathered him in Vaseline (from head to toe, including his hair) because the sun "dried" out his skin. Wait, wrong rant. Ignore that last one.

But just underneath the surface -- not far, like scraping a bit of paint from the wall -- I'm disappointed in myself. All this time, I thought I was getting the hang of things, when it reality, I wasn't. I know it's ridiculous to let the unfounded judgements of a few day care providers make me question my self worth, that's how I feel. Even though they don't know that when he first started eating there in the morning, I cooked breakfast for him, only to have it ignored. They don't know that I've offered graham crackers (his favorite) only to have them crushed into fine powder into the high chair. That I have to force him to even drink all his milk; that most mornings, he would rather stop before finishing half the cup.

But I do know that, and still. Still, I feel as though I should have done more -- force fed him oatmeal or applesauce. Wake him at 5:30 a.m. to give him time to want to eat. Something. 

Though I hate to admit it, I'm not yet at the point where I'm not affected by what people say when it comes to my parenting. I am totally and utterly affected by it. But I have to remind myself of Cam's belly; the potruding pot belly that shows me that no matter what they say, he's not starving.

And that, I guess, is something.

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