I Always Feel Like Someone is Watching Me…
I know. I’m sorry. That little ditty has been perpetually stuck in my head for at least a year now too. The best part? I think that insurance company stopped running that series of advertisements just a month or two ago. How nice of me to re-introduce that little ear worm, huh?
This might be a silly story for
some all of you, but I distinctly remember the night my freshman year in high school when I found out I made cheerleader. One of the women (a past coach whom I never had the opportunity to work with) serving on the panel of judges said “Just remember, you are now a CHS Cheerleader. There will always be someone who is watching you. Every single move you make will be seen.” I’m sure that was a bit of a scare tactic to make sure we didn’t get into the usual high school trouble and subsequently embarrass our squad, coaches, and high school. But it stuck with me. Sometimes (ok, often in my young 20s), I would hide that voice in the deepest depths of my brain and ignore it, but it’s always been there.
Over the last 8 months that voice has gotten a lot louder. It cries. It sings. It screeches. It squeals with glee. It says “mamamamamama.” It babbles as it tries to form its first words. Best of all, it giggles uncontrollably when I kiss it’s cheek. It’s my son Carter Joe.
About a month ago, I wrote a post about setting a good example for my child. Overall, I realized that I’m not perfect (gasp!). Ok, I have always known I’m not perfect, but I started really seeing things I very much wanted to change. I’ve come to notice over the last few weeks that not only is my day-to-day life being watched, but so are my facial expressions and my reactions to everything. Hot coffee makes me wince or say an unsavory word and wave my hand over my mouth? CJ finds a way to mimic it the best he can.
After watching him pick up so many of my facial expressions and hand motions (I’m trying to teach him a few sign language skills and within 5 days he seems to be catching on to a couple), I challenged myself to think about every action I took over one day. First he rejected the fresh mango I pureed for his breakfast. I had JUST tasted it and thought it was a little tart. He made my tart face and proceeded to giggle every time I tried to feed it to him. After the 2nd bite, he acted as if he was going to upchuck the rest of his breakfast. Epic mango fail. Later, it was bath time. He used to LOVE bath time, but we had a bad experience while on vacation. It involved a shower (no tub) with wildly unpredictable temperature changes and the world’s shortest shower and longest top-of-your-lungs-all-of-our-friends-on-vacation-with-us-thought-we-were-torturing-our-baby-scream. Since then, bath time has been a crapshoot. I’ve tried to work myself into a very positive mood about it, but if I show any signs of stress and walter the whale (that’s a toy, not a body part) points his blowhole within 3 degrees of the wrong direction…well, let’s just say bath time promptly ends. Back of the ears clean or not, bath time is o.v.e.r. Some days, if I’m calm enough going into bath time (read: my child actually napped and ate when he was supposed to) walter can direct his spout in any direction and it’s only a minor hiccup.
It’s a bit of a slippery slope to take every move you make to that level of scrutiny, but it’s not that hard to keep in check when you can adopt the concept as a whole. That certainly can be problematic when you are mired in the detail of today’s life. Whether you stay at home or are a full time working mom, it can be difficult to put your mind in the place of a little critter who has been in this world for a mere 196 days. Wow. Writing that out… one hundred ninety six days … This world is scary to this old gal who’s been on the earth forever. I’m blessed with the opportunity to rediscover it with my first born son. Life really couldn’t get better than that. A simple thought such as “196 days” can help put the right expression on my face no matter the circumstances, and I'm hopeful he'll copy it.