Friday, May 18, 2007

The Mama Effect

The semester is over, and as I collect my suit and towel from the gym locker room and various projects from the sculpture lab and gallery, I feel both relieved and anxious about the summer to come. I know that there will still remain a great amount of pulling in far too many directions on my too few limbs, but I am grateful for the break from the assigned readings, research papers, critiques and grades. Oh and the showing up to class in the middle of baby’s nap time, late, stressed and cranky. I look forward to creating because I am inspired to, free of the constraints of assignments, unwanted advice and instruction. I know I fell into a funk a few months back and unfortunately it coincided with little Pet’s insistence on, and preference for, Mommy. "Momma, Mommy, Mom..." she repeats when thinking about, looking for, or calling to me. "Mommy, Momma.," she will say, planting kisses on my face when she wakes up in the morning, when the trying very hard not to let Mama out of her sight begins. "Momma" she says as a statement of fact, reassuring herself that she has me all to herself as we walk around the corner from the library, hand in hand. "Oh no, Mama!" she screeches, half awake at midnight, woken by the noise of me trying to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Why so into Mama? Was little Juj this way? Maybe I can’t remember, maybe the distribution of childcare was more equal back when JB and I worked opposite shifts and rarely saw each other. Maybe it is a Mama and daughter thing. "Can’t you make yourself more interesting?" I ask JB, "screech like a monkey, do a dance, do something, anything, please" I wine, jealous of his regular solitary bathroom time. All I’m asking for is a quick floss of the teeth while I am cleaning the sink, putting away the bath toys and getting out a new roll of TP without someone hanging on me, leaning much too far over the edge of the tub, attempting to dislodge the plunger from behind the toilet and then demanding to eat brush-full after brush-full of Thomas the Tank Engine toothpaste. That’s when mommy gets mad, really, really mad! I know it won’t last forever. Some people say that although it may peak at 18 months, this intense attachment and "separation anxiety" could last until 2 to 3 years of age!! People tell me that they wish their teenagers would show a mere shred of affection towards them, "just wait until she’s fourteen," they warn. But for me, for now, this is intense in ways that are frustrating and depleting as I reach the limits of my affection, empathy and ability to control my own inner toddler (temper tantrums aren’t just for babies, you know). But the Pet has always been intense and so be it! She is in the murky process of creating a separate self, between baby and toddler and she knows where it is good. She knows that I understand her language, her wants and needs. She knows that I am responsive to her from every fiber in my body. She knows this and so do I. So, our house is alive and messy with the raw emotion of want, hot with the bartering and negotiation of need and wild with the pushes and pulls of closeness and separateness. How is it in your house? Has the "mama" effect infected your home too?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what a lucky girl to have a "mama" so atuned to her psyche. with this incredible bond that you two are making/pulling against, i am sure she will return the favor and wipe the drool from your face with a smile some day when you can no longer.