Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Ugly Face

Children, even as infants, love to model their parents. It starts as cooing contests back and forth. Then it moves to copying sounds, mamama, dadada, and then, eventually, words.

Then they REALLY learn to talk and you might have your 2 year-old yell "SHIT!" in exactly the appropriate situation - just like Mommy.

Sawyer has recently started saying "Soooo...what are we doing today?" or "Sooo.....where are you going?" etc. I couldn't figure out where he was getting that "Soooo" from. Until I realized it was me. No clue I did it (for those of you who might have noticed this problem, stop snickering).

They are constantly watching, processing, reacting. This is mostly a good thing. You try to model not only good language, but good behavior. You say "please" and "thank you." You try to eat healthy food (at least in front of them, the Ben & Jerry's is for after they're in bed) and exercise.

You try to be kind and friendly to others. You look both ways before crossing the street.

This is why what I saw the other day made me so upset. Sawyer has been rather "challenging" lately. He is getting quite sassy and will not stop obnoxious behaviors - such as smacking his sister or using his "outside" voice in the car -unless I yell. And after the fifth time of asking him to stop nicely, that is what it comes to: me snapping at him.

And there, in the rear view mirror, I saw what my kids see: I saw my Ugly Face.

Eyes squinted. Mouth twisted.




And not the "I'm feeling fat/pimply/frizzy-haired" kind of ugly.

We're talking Scary Ugly.

I did not like what I saw. Not at all. I'm sure they don't like it much either.

I don't want to be that kind of Mom. I don't want my children to think it's okay to be that angry over simple rebellion. And I sure as hell don't want them to be scared of me.

I feel like Other Moms don't have this face. Well, maybe Joan Crawford or someone like that, but not normal, non beating-my-child-with-a-iron type mothers. I have no idea where mine comes from, but I'm working on banishing it to the dark place where it must have grown.

I want my kids to remember their childhood as happy, with a mom who was firm but fun. Not scary. Not angry.

And definitely, definitely not Ugly.

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