Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dropping F-Bombs in Front of Her Grandmas

You know that sound that Marge Simpson makes? Her trademark groaning noise; the grumble from deep within her soul that passively voices her frustration and discontent without actually having a psychotic break. I've recently learned this is a motherly sound. If you don’t know the sound I am talking about, you are welcome to come over to my house, I have just become aware of myself making this pitiful angry animal growl. Mine might be worse than the Marge Simpson noise, I'm not sure. But, I promise that it was always subconscious. In fact, the only reason I noticed it as a habit was because my daughter, in her 5 year old frustrations, now makes this noise as if it were normal.  I asked my husband the other day if he noticed the groan. He looked at me and said, “Yeah, you do groan a lot.” So now, every time I hear the rumble coming out of me I have check myself--if only I could stop being provoked.  The situation could be worse. Thing One could be dropping F-bombs in front of her grandmas, but I still find the groaning sound so annoying. And even more troubling that she picked up the habit from me.

I suppose this is an appropriate segue into talking about how we all become our mothers eventually, like it or not. I’m really lucky. My mom is a really sweet, wonderful, kind human being who never swears and is a great listener. I’ll be the last to know if these traits ever show up in me, but what I have seen lately is how we both talk to my kids. There have been many occasions when my mom, my two kids, and me are sitting at the dinner table. One kid will wander off, pick up food off the floor, pick his nose—and my mom and I will give the same reprimand at the same time. “No, no! Don’t give your dinner to the dogs!” or “Icky, icky, yuck, don’t eat that it’s dirty.” It’s like parenting in stereo. I’m pretty lucky that when I leave my kids with their grandma I know things will be consistent, if not a slightly better version.
I wonder if it is fair for me to consciously change my actions in order to determine how my kids will be as adults (as if that were possible). What if I start to do strange things, like barking every time I see a dog; or what if I start cutting all sandwiches into thirds just so they will be totally weird when they start taking lunch to school?
What if I changed the way I laugh? That would mess with everyone.

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