Friday, November 10, 2006

The Crush

Might as well write it on the bathroom wall or embroider it on a pillow: Jarrah loves Miss Theresa.

Miss Theresa is one of Jarrah's teachers at My Gym. On any given day, there are about five, all charming young women except for one vaguely troglydytic man of indeterminate age. Jarrah enjoys getting attention from all the teachers, and will grace anyone who engages her with a brilliant smile for their pains. But Miss Theresa...well, Miss Theresa is special.

I started noticing the preference a few weeks ago. Jarrah won't sit long during circle time, and once Miss Theresa started running after her, it was all over. Jarrah never sat down at all after that, not even for a second, because why would she want to do that when it was so much fun to have Miss Theresa chase her and pick her up?

It wasn't until a couple weeks ago that Jarrah started approaching Miss Theresa during free play, during time she could otherwise have been on the swings, the trampoline or (gasp) the Space Ride. She would gaze up at her coyly, and then emit a long stream of unintelligible babble that tonally resembled, "Miss Theresa? Do you like me as much as I like you? 'Cause if you do, would you go in the ball pit with me?" Miss Theresa would laugh, and spin Jarrah around, saying, "Jarrah, you are so funny!"

One time when this happened, I had to look away because my eyes filled with tears. I actually had some kind of junior high flashback in which I suddenly felt I wasn't cool enough to be Jarrah's mother, and that she was abandoning me like yesterday's onesie for a younger, hipper mom. First infertility and now this, I lamented inwardly. When will I be loved?

I tried to get over myself. After all, this is a 22-month-old we're talking about. She's completely id-driven. Probably Jarrah accepts me as her mom, but it's Miss Theresa she wants for her FRIEND. I'm sure that will be happening a lot in future so I might as well get used to it.

Last week, things really got a little kooky. First, Jarrah wandered over to the room where they keep all the toys (strictly off-limits to the kids) and spotted Miss Theresa in there, all the way in back, eating her lunch. She stood in the doorway and indicated with word and gesture that Miss Theresa was to come out and play, with Jarrah in particular, and was not to tarry in this objective. Her requests grew louder and increasingly strident. All the other staff members started giggling at Jarrah's insistence. Miss Theresa waved to her (she always handles it well) but of course she didn't come out. Jarrah had to be dragged away.

At the end of the class, Miss Theresa was working at the desk, signing people up for classes. Jarrah saw her from across the room, and took off at high speed. She flung her arms around Miss Theresa's legs and screamed, "Ma-MA! Ma-MA!" Now I really wanted to go and hide. What must other moms be thinking? What must Miss Theresa and the other teachers be thinking? That Jarrah is beaten and starved at home and kept chained to a wooden chair? Part of me could see the humor and part of me was mortified.

That night I went to book club and told my friends that Jarrah is shopping for a new mom. They laughed and said I should be glad that Jarrah feels such passion and shows her feelings so freely. That this could only be a good thing. Harumph. Okay.

Today I braced myself for The Wonder of Miss Theresa. Sure enough, when Jarrah spotted her, she pointed and told me repeatedly about her myriad attributes. She also played peek-a-boo behind her legs several times, and lit up like neon whenever Miss Theresa "found" her.

But I flatter myself that Jarrah's attentions do not go unreciprocated. Jarrah is kind of adorable at My Gym. Sure, sure, she won't sit down, but she never cries, or whines, or finks out on trying something scary or hard. I think she sort of delights people with her funny little smoker's laugh and the way she screams "Hip-Hip-Hooray!" during the songs. I think Miss Theresa has not been immune to her charms. And by the way, I am like chopped liver during their little tete-a-tetes. I stand by like a silent, menacing pimp. I try to smile non-threateningly and make jokes about Jarrah the stalker, but neither of them pay attention to me. I might as well be one of the slides.

Today Miss Theresa took time out of her hectic schedule to seek out Jarrah a few times. And each time, I watched for Jarrah's reaction, feigning indifference. Each time it was the same. Miss Theresa approached, and Jarrah beamed. And then Miss Theresa reached for her, and Jarrah ran away, not even looking back, on to her next amusement. There are so many, after all.

That saucy little flirt. Playing hard to get. And anyway, Jarrah's got good taste. Miss Theresa is my favorite, too.


Marlene said...

No one will ever, every be as special as mama, Samasita. You would see a whole other set of responses, if Miss Theresa (in all her glory) tried to take Jarrah away from you. You are the mom. You are the secure and wondrous and beloved. Miss Theresa is fabulous, of course, but in the way that a mocha latte is fabulous in comparison to David. You'd never give him up for a small delight. Neither would the J-girl you. She will have crushes by the hundreds. You and only you will ever be her mom.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Jarrah has reckoned now that Miss Theresa comes to her, it's time to move on. Maybe she just likes the chase!

Best, Gail

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

[S]he was abandoning me like yesterday's onesie . . .

I stand by like a silent, menacing pimp . . . .

You are too good!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sam,

I felt the same way in junior high...and in high school...and in college...and oh!

You are the one and true MAMA. Plus, you are Joy's Bun Mama!



Anonymous said...

great post Sam!!

Heather - The Wanna-be Super Mom said...

Dear Sam,
Somehow (I am not sure I remember how) I stumbled across your blog about a month ago. My wonderful husband Paul and I are in the process of adopting our own baby girl from China. I just want to tell you that reading you blog has been an experience that I will honestly never forget. I laughed with you, I cried for you (mostly happy) and felt like you were a friend of mine although I have never met you. You have given me hope, and patience that will help me through this wait, and you inspired me to start my own blog (
I log on every day to read your new entires and to see how the adorable Jarrah is doing.
I know it is long after your Gotcha Day, but CONGRATULATIONS to you, David and Jarrah. You are a beautiful family, and I thank you for sharing your story with another Mom who is waiting for her little girl!
Your friend (although we have never met).