M is for Mother behavior
With two kids actually learning how to read, one on the actually reading end and the other on the letters and sounds end I hear “M is for Mom” all the time. To them it is my name. I’m fine with that, I worked hard for the title, but I also have made sure they do know my real name that ‘everyone’ calls me so if they need to ask for help they can tell someone my name. (or at halloween Niamh just said I was wonderwoman but my costume was good enough they found me).
The girls all play house all the time. I don’t know if it is a universal girl thing, a my girl thing, or just a kid thing but they take turns being the mom. This is such a common game that YEARS ago after going to see what was up when I heard “mom!” ring out from a play fort or up in a bunk one too many time to find out they were referring to the sister playing mom at that time that I made a deal; I am Mom – game mom is called Mother. Ever after they have stuck to the deal and it is cute to hear calls of “mother!” especially since I know it requires zero action on my part.
Since I had 3 kids in fairly rapid succession I was prepping 18 month old Niamh with baby-this and baby-that getting her ready. 2 year old Niamh had a working knowledge of sleeping baby, hungry baby, nursing baby and I was pleased and slightly self congratulating as she mimicked mommy behavior. Same for Zoe – many cute pictures of both with dolls patted asleep or fed or carried just like me. Then comes Fiona, the baby, nobody to force her to move out of the crib and she is the one we are quiet for naps and push in the stroller – not a new infant. In fact, there are very few infants in our life at all.
It must be a DNA thing because without me showing her anything, or, her seeing any mother example – she is doing the exact same mother behavior as her sisters…. She adores babies. She pats her baby to sleep. She yells at me because her baby is sleeping. She asks for me to help her swaddle the baby (she calls it bundling) and all small pieces of cloth turn into baby blankets.
Who knows if she will grow up to be a mom, if all or any of them will, and if they do what they might remember from their time. I had a vast body of second hand knowledge between sisters and cousins and then babysitting that my kids were still a whole new ballgame but at least I had been to the park. Poor Lars was the baby, the first diaper he ever changed was Niamhs and I have a feeling the last (for maybe 20 years) will hopefully come off Fiona’s bum in the next month. With no cousins around and only Mom club play dates to keep babies in our life, good thing Fiona has some natural talent or she will be that mom that isn’t sure what end to feed.
I know mother behavior, like child behavior, evolves. If it does not (in either case) there are issues… Mom’s that treat their kids like babies forever don’t, in my opinion, every get the benefits of adult children. I’ll never mind being called ‘a child’ by my mom because I know she isn’t demeaning me in any way, she is citing the biological link. I do still need her but in a new way – I hope to have a similar relationship in 30 years.
Being a mom is sometimes not a choice. Not being a mom is sometimes not a choice. Even those who make the choice one way or another, and get exactly what they want probably always have a tiny part of them that wonders if the grass is greener. Whatever happens in your life leads to inevitable changes from the 3 year old you once were and if that mother behavior is actually on the XX chromosome it comes out in so many different ways in adults.
I have no idea how to wrap this one up. Probably because I’m in the middle of the muck of motherhood. Well, maybe just past the majority of the baby muck but I’ve heard that the teenage years are a whole new world…. probably requiring a whole new set of mother behavior! (and maybe earplugs, or a taser, who knows)