I just figured out why I've been experiencing a silent, mini-meltdown these past several days. It started Friday when Dan told me Bernadette's day care provider referred to her as being "shy" with other kids. That was the precise moment this black cloud first crossed the sun. I grimaced. "Oh, no. But I don't want her to be like me!"
That's all she seems to want these days, to be like me. Every other word out of her mouth is "mama". And as I decipher some of her other pronunciations and gestures it seems she's impersonating me. Today we were watching a family photo slideshow on my iPad and I noticed that she no longer squeals loudest in response to her own image. Her greatest delight is in recognizing me.
Maybe this sounds like fabulous ego fodder, and it kinda is, but the novelty is wearing off and I'm starting to panic. It's too much pressure. I never wanted her to be like me as much as I wanted her to be better than me. And the shyness is the last thing I wished for her to emulate.
Blogging can be such swift, sharp tool of self discovery. It often seems that once I make some pronouncement about myself, I immediately discover it isn't entirely true. Specifically, I've started to wonder if I'm really quite so introverted as I am customarily afraid of other people. There's good reason for me to be that way - I've spent big chunks of my life in the company of mean, unstable people and I'm pretty sensitive to be dealing with that sort of thing. Sequestering myself was how I found calm and maintained my sanity. Good for me that I happened to enjoy spending time alone. But there's no question I've always been shy in addition to being introverted. I'm way more outgoing now than I was as a child, when I could barely look anyone in the eye. I've also gotten pretty good at avoiding assholes, too. Overall I'm proud of my progress, but I must admit I'm not yet the model I wish for my kid.
I'm really not sure what to do. Fortunately, just prior to hearing someone describe my daughter with the "s-word", I'd already resolved to be a bit more social. A recent solo trip to Michigan reminded me how much I love good conversation with grown-up friends; much as I try to convince myself otherwise, the internet just doesn't provide a suitable substitute. I'm pretty sure I could experience more of that in Chattanooga if I made the effort. And that's fine. But now this other factor is increasing my sense of urgency, leaving me overwhelmed. I hate the idea that my kid could suffer undue loneliness because she's trying so hard to be like me.