Thursday, March 25, 2010
Day 25: I Need My Rest
Jarrah made a book at preschool called All About Me. It's filled with all kinds of lovely lies about her formative years, such as her favorite foods "broccoli" and "bananas," and her special talent for turning cartwheels. (Um...no.)
My favorite page, though, is entitled "My Family." From left to right, it features her friend Joy--fair enough, they might as well be sisters--with whom she likes to "play princesses." Then there is Daddy, who "likes to go to work. He does technology." While this sounds cute, it's completely true--David is one of those rare happiest of men who can't wait to get to the office each day. But he's well-rounded, as you can see if you look to the far right where Jarrah has drawn "Me: I like to play socc (sic) in the house with Daddy. I'm the goalie." In Jarrah's eyes, David is one of these highly-evolved types who lives the life of the mind by day and then cavorts with the children and tends to the goats by night, all while smelling of Old Spice. How wonderful for him.
And then there is Mommy. Sssshhh, everyone. Don't make too much noise. Why? Because "this is Mommy. She's sleeping." (!!!)
So there it is, Readers. When Jarrah is asked to give a glowing testimonial of her mother--that sweet, selfless woman who is always ready to microwave a brownie for her child--the first thing that springs to mind is that mother...unconscious. Never mind that Jarrah has thrilled to my theatricals--sometimes the same show four times! Ignore that she sees me off to teach Nia every week! And how about those gourmet meals I've whipped up in great steaming cauldrons? All those times I've chased her tricycle, furrowed my brow over a floor puzzle, performed Dr. Seuss books in funny voices?
No, Readers. These are not the images Jarrah cherishes of me, her doting mama. The one that crowds out all the others is one in which I am silent, still and totally non-interactive. Kind of like Sleeping Beauty. (I'm sure she meant to say that I am lovely as a princess in my slumber.)
I have to say, it did make me a bit sheepish. After all, how does she greet each day? By telling my huddled form that she's "hungry for breakfast," to which I respond...well, I don't respond. I mean, I think it sends a less ambiguous message if I remain silent and unmoving until she gives up and goes away, don't you? And in the late afternoon, when she's happily watching Dora and really doesn't need me? Is it really so odd that I should say "Honey, Mommy is going to lie down for a few minutes. If you make even the slightest sound, you get no dessert?" I mean, surely all mothers say that around 4:00?
Still, it feels unfair. I want to be acknowledged as an active member of this family. Literally active. Like, sentient in some fashion. Is that too much to expect? When I mentioned this disturbing depiction to Jarrah's teacher, she said merrily "Oh, we get all kinds of hilarious things. 'Mommy likes to shop for jewelry.' 'Daddy enjoys playing poker.' It's all good fun."
But is it good fun, Readers? Or do I need to drop some pointed hints like "Sweetie, maybe next time you write an All About Me book, you could put 'Mommy is is a brilliant writer, inspiring teacher, dazzling dancer and focus-pulling actress, but still manages to cook me dinner from scratch every night?' Do you think maybe that would be a great idea?"
Or no dessert.