Repeat after me (I think)…

There are days when I, like most of us, feel like a failure of a mother. Self defeating thoughts swirl around my head; I yell too much, let my kids fill up on “snacks”, leave the TV on for one show too many, let my daughter walk through Target barefoot, cuss you know, that kind of stuff. And it always seems that our children like to parrot our behaviors back to us. Monkey see, monkey do is nothing new but it doesn’t make it any less scary when it happens to you. When your child begins to acquire language, look out! I’ve heard all the profanities I’ve used spit right back at me since my daughter could talk. And she so loves to test out her new vocabulary when we’re in public. Once at the photo lab, she looked straight in the eye of the 20-something at the register and said with gusto, “JEEESUS KWIIIEST”. The girl stared back in horror (I can only hope she was more shocked than deeply offended by a toddler ‘taking the lords name in vain’) and I said without skipping a beat, “That’s all me. Guess it’s time to clean up my act?”

But on better days when I’m not PMSing, my girls are dreamy, and all is right with the world, hearing a little echo of my best mothering moments can stop me in my tracks and instantly remind me that I am a pretty good mom. On more mornings than not my youngest beckons me to her crib and greets me with, “Good morning Mom. It’s a lovely day.” I do say that, don’t I? Be still my heart. When we were enjoying a picnic on our front lawn she looked up and said, “It’s a perfect day for a picnic, isn’t it?”. I got weepy. And when we were driving home from a morning at the Aquarium, she said from the backseat, “I had a really nice time. That was a fun day.” Aaaah. Those kinds of moments, when I see my kids being sincere and polite and above all expressing true gratitude for the simple things, I know that I’m doing something right.

I love to hear my daughters mimic one another, use expressions I use, communicate like their father, treat others with kindness, show compassion, and offer respect. I am blown away at what incredible people they are becoming and how somehow I have had a large part in that. It’s a really reassuring feeling. Of course you know you must take the good with the bad. I mean, what kind of kid walks up to her mother (who has been on the computer way too long) and blurts out, “You’re not my friend anymore Mom”? One with an older sister who has used that line on her a number of times. Monkey see monkey do.

Oh, how I love my monkeys.

  • amy mcmullen
    Posted at 07:49h, 25 March Reply

    ah, so true, dear trace! and with the monkeys comes the zoo. and such a life we lead.

    what a trip… that someone looks to US for guidance… to be a map of what is good and true. that’s heavy shit… i mean, poop.

  • Kristen
    Posted at 14:03h, 25 March Reply

    I am afraid – I am very afraid. They are like little mirrors – or ahem monkeys 🙂

  • Claddyjack
    Posted at 23:32h, 25 March Reply

    Great post, Trace!! You’ve always enlightened me to the challenges and joy of motherhood – of what it would be like. It scares me to death, honestly. But I suppose like anything else it’s one step at a time.

  • Dawn
    Posted at 00:25h, 27 March Reply

    I own all “God Dammits”, whereas my husband lays claim to all swears with “Ass” in them.

    Oh and the use of “Dead to me”? That’s all me too.

  • sweatpantsmom
    Posted at 22:50h, 27 March Reply

    Awwww….ya gotta love the little monkeys.

    My nine year old’s phrase this week: “Fricken A!”

    So nice when we can shape young minds…

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