Friday, May 9, 2008

Smother Love

Hedgehog had been looking forward all week to a Friday date with her friend (I'll call him Bunny).  She asked me specially to make her favorite treat, "Old-as-Pilgrims Molasses Cookies." I had visions of a cheerful, tidy house smelling cozily of baking ginger and cloves, and happy children playing a board game on the rug while the rain drummed on the skylight.  At 5 p.m. promptly, I would serve roast chicken, biscuits, and a fresh salad on our apple-patterned placemats to my hungry little charges.  

Here's how my day went, and this should tell you just what kind of a self-conscious, trying-too-hard mother I can be: After I dropped Hedgehog  off at school, I went in the rain to procure the ingredients I didn't have on hand.  I also chose some other snacks that would be fun but not too egregiously junk foody: popcorn and Orangina.  I went home, tidied my heart out, prepared the cookie dough (it has to chill for an hour).  Tidied some more, baked the cookies, seasoned the chicken and put it up to bake...I did do some reading for my dissertation in all this homemaking frenzy...

The cookies were very nice:



and the play-date was too. It was quite wholesome and sweet...until the dreaded video game fiasco...Bunny wanted to play a video game, so I asked whether his mother allowed this after school...he said she did...I told them they could, and so they played...in my defense, only for the last 30 minutes of a three-hour playdate...as it turned out, Bunny wasn't allowed, but for one day a week. Only on Sundays, apparently. OH, the guilt. The guilt. All my efforts at being the perfect mama with the coziest house, the most delightful snack, were ultimately for naught as my poor showing of in loco parentis was made manifest...the only thing noted and subsequently remembered would be this, this atrocity...

Okay, back it up, Leah...so, I had a slight lapse in judgment there, but who cares.  After all, it was not my playdate.  I can have my own with my own friends.

I learned something today after getting so overwrought.  I need to back off and let Hedgehog have more space to lead her own life.  I know she's only 7, but I think it's never too early to back off with the smothering "love."  I am taking a solemn oath to do this to the very best of my ability.  So, I swear here before witnesses that I will try not to hover, smother, overwhelm with attention and ego investment, pepper with questions, live vicariously through, or otherwise try to usurp the individuality of my little girl.

Signed,

Leah

I can't promise I won't bake those cookies, however...you can't take everything away from me...

6 comments:

Skeeter said...

Dear, I think that a healthy measure of hover, smother and overwhelm are in the basic job desription for a mother today. The trick is like yu say, trying to find a balance. You've got my vote. You're doing a pretty good job and Hedgehog is a great kid.

Best wishes to you all.

(Not-So) Cynical Gal said...

I have enough trouble being the mom to a dog and three cats! You rock, gal.

CSI Seattle said...

Just a thought about letting Bunny play the video game. I feel rather confident that the extra 30 minutes of game playing will not make him a bad person (unless it was Grand Theft Auto III).

However, I do think that if Bunny begins acting out against authority anytime soon, its because you called him...Bunny.

Cecile said...

Well, I don't think you were at fault for Bunny's extra video game playing time. Afterall, if Bunny's parents were going to get worked up about it, then they may have sent the kids with instructions. As for the snacks, wow. When my kids have friends over, the get Beagel bites or Pizza Rolls. THis Momma only cooks on special occasions. I did throw a Halloween party for the kids last year and made homemade Gobblin Candies. The kids were so afraid of them that they wouldn't eat them. All we can do is live and learn.

Leah said...

Skeeter, how awesome are you--"a healthy measure of hover, smother, and overwhelm" shall henceforth be my new mothering slogan. That is just too funny, but you know, it's probably true...sigh...

AJ--trust me, mothering Pippin is sometimes harder than mothering Hedgie, he can't tell me what he needs, you know? That doggie muteness can be so unnerving. At least Hedgie can articulate her needs...I was just thinking this tonight when Pippin wasn't feeling well and was just staring at me pitifully, leaving me to guess...

CSI--Sgt Pepper laughed so hard at your comment, when I showed him. Yes, I don't think "Bunny" would have appreciated being called Bunny...

Cecile--Cecile!! You're back, baby! Hell, yeah, next time it's pizza rolls. I love pizza rolls! Thanks for the support on the video game question--it does seem a little precious in retrospect, ya know? I mean, it doesn't kill them to play a little...

muralimanohar said...

Dude...you made cookies?? My poor kids get abandoned...I clean the house, make it a relatively hazardfree zone, and then ignore them for the whole time. I figure no one wants a mom all up in their business...lol