jolie rose up in bed this morning smiling. laying on her stomach she said, “i’m so excited i’m four today. you don’t want me to be four? you want me to be a baby? i can’t poop.” (i asked what that meant.) “babies poop in their diaper. i poop in the potty.”
over the weekend we took jolie to a birthday party for one of her friends at daycare. jolie began this particular daycare last year (in the toddler room), and upon beginning we noticed a flux in her social life. she was no longer a catepillar. brett and i found ourselves decluttering her school cubby of daily art work and several birthday party invitations, booking our weekends for months if we chose to accept them all. something just isn’t right when a three year-old’s social life is more ‘happening’ than a twenty three-year old’s social life.
i’m assuming those reading know me well enough to know i’m not the socially accepted protege of a mom. i was relatively young when i had jolie and out of wedlock (oh my). i was extremely aware of this social stigma as a college freshman, wobbling to russian history after long afternoon naps. more recently i feel like i’ve come into my own as a mother: more confident, self assured and a tid bit more relaxed. i’m still perturbed by the response i get from strangers who find out i have a three year-old, “you look too young to have a kid.” what does this mean? too young for what exactly? would they tell someone in their fifties they look too old to have a three year old? i don’t envy parents who are ten + years my senior, or consider their children to be better off than jolie because society says so. jolie is just as content now as she was when i was going through school on a student salary, apartment hopping annually. she had everything she needed then as she does now. i never justify myself to these strangers. their ignorance is punishment enough. i do realize, however, my age puts me in an awkward position. i don’t share the same responsibilities or experiences as my childless friends within my age group, and i don’t always connect with the parents who are significantly older than i am.
while brett and i stood at the birthday party this past weekend, i felt a disconnect between us and most of the parents, because this WAS there social life: a gym shoe-smelling tumbling complex with little girls in sequin leotards and elaborate lacey bows. jolie is three. we are having a little birthday party for her this weekend, but it’s certainly not going to become an annual thing. i’m going to go out on a limb and say she won’t remember most of her toddler years. Yet, parents are compelled to throw big,elaborate birthday parties for their kids. when i was jolie’s age (no, i didn’t walk 10 miles uphill in a blizzard:) ), i got a cake and the company of my family. these parents are sending home party favors on top of renting out sports complexes for their private parties, and the kids are barely out of diapers. we watched as the parents ran around the room in their khaki shorts refilling juices and giggling as the newly four year-old girl opened present upon present, gifts from her daycare buddies. (if i were her parents i’d have been thinking to myself, “we have to put all of this shit in our house, but oddly enough they were smiling too) the parents talked about upcoming birthdays and complimented the gifted baker in the group who had been appointed cupcake duty for a slew of upcoming birthdays.
this post probably sounds like a bashing of all homemakers out there, but that’s not my angle. i’m not detached all together from being a mom. i like taking jolie to the zoo and library. i genuinely like being a mom, but i am me and she is she. i watched these parents (granted i only see them at these sort of functions) and thought, “they are parents. they are parents. they are no longer billy bob or susie q. they areparents.” i love being nurturing and needed, but i also love being me. i don’t want to keep up with the jones. one rents the complex for little tommy’s birthday, the next gets a private circus. and if anyone notices, the kids are happy to play in the dirt. well, with the exception of my kid who hates dirt and bugs.
when i’m around these parents i’m reminded of the movie “little children.” if you’ve seen it, you may agree. i’m not saying these parents are bad parents. i’m just saying they’re bad (at being) individuals. i need me time. i need me and brett time. i need friend time. i need time to be brooke. the entire time i was going through college i felt this enormous pressure. i felt aweful giving jolie a teaspoon of motrin and sending her to daycare with a mild fever because i couldn’t miss a lecture. i felt even worse when my grandpa told me jolie’s bout with the terrible two’s was her way of expressing that she needs more attention and someone should be in the home with her. his passive aggressive way of saying that she shouldn’t be in daycare, and i shouldn’t be in school. i knew staying at home wasn’t for me. maternity leave was fucking torture, but still, at times, i felt selfish and inadequate as a mother. i felt this way because we are taught to feel this way. i call bullshit. someone was telling me not too long ago that they were listening to npr and a far-left liberal woman was talking about her views and life as a mother. she called bullshit on a lot of child-rearing practices and idealogy. she even went as far as to say that she loves her husband more than her children. that’s pretty far left. i love jolie and brett equally and i’m not ashamed of that. perhaps being young casts a different perspective on parenting. but i think i’m doing an okay job. jolie eats her veggies and washes her hands after peeing, she says thank you when someone gives her something and excuse me when she farts, and the kid loves to read. and i occassionally get intoxicated and go to concerts and make love to my husband…and i also say excuse me when i fart. all and all we’re doing fine.
it’s raining and thundering and the streets are wet and the sky is gray. today is a perfect day to crawl back into bed and watch old movies.
we’re having the exterior of our house painted. what a process. what an expensive, long process. they were supposed to begin today but the weather is not permitting. it gives us more time to go to the store and pick up paint samples. this is a big decision, and frankly i’m not ready to commit.
let me just say, ashley, christy and i had a great mini-road trip to nashville! the journey truly is better than the destination. i love long car rides. i learned a lot about the girls and had a great time simply being a girl. and dancing does solve everything. we attended a wedding at belle meade plantation. it had tons of old world-southern charm (lush green, lots of trees and gardens, and plenty of wine) and a photo booth! yeah, the photo booth is probably considered new world. ash has the photo booth pics, but i plan on posting some on here. we ended up taking like 8 strips of pics. they had costume accessories that made it all the more fun. today is my birthday. if anyone is stumped on what to get me, i have the answer..a photo booth. i want one. not sure where i would put it, but we’d certainly make room.