Monday, January 18, 2010

Putting Things in Perspective -- by Jamie

Last weekend, the mother of one of Jayda’s day care friends invited us to join them in attending “Disney on Ice.” Jayda was thrilled when I explained to her that “Mickey Mouse and all the Princesses would be ice skating, and she and her friend could sit together and watch them.” Mickey and Minnie introduced the show, and Jayda clapped happily from my lap. But as the characters from “Aladdin” came out for the first act, and a procession of genies skated out across the ice, kicking like Rockettes, Jayda quickly turned around and buried her face into my neck. I suddenly realized that a performance that had appeared magical and impressive to me, seemed ominous and frightening to my little girl.

As the show continued, though Jayda did enjoy it (and woke up the next morning demanding, “I want to go to Disney again!”), she also dragged me out to the lobby for walks at inopportune moments, changed her position (from my lap to her own chair back to my lap) at least a dozen times, constantly fished for snacks from my pocketbook, and often tried to engage me in conversations (“Mommy! Talk about our day!”). While Jayda’s friend, who is several months older than Jayda, sat mesmerized in her seat for the entire show (even through the intermission!), Jayda lacked the focus—just as she doesn’t have the patience to sit through a DVD at home (or even more than 5 or 10 minutes of a TV show, for that matter)—without constantly getting up to play.

Jayda’s in nursery school, and her development over the last six months has been astounding. She goes to the bathroom on her own now—even shuts the door in my face, insisting on her privacy. She also grabs her bedtime books from me and takes a turn “reading” to me almost every night. And when I remind her that something is “for grownups,” she counters, “I a big girl now! I can do it/use it!” So, sometimes I forget that Jayda isn’t even three years old yet. Often she forgets it, too. But our experience at “Disney on Ice” was a much-needed reminder for both of us that Jayda’s still a toddler in many ways: She gets scared of monster-like genies no matter how graceful they are, and she can’t sit still for a show—even if it is vastly entertaining. And that’s just fine. I don’t need to rush her to grow up any faster.

Sometimes we expect too much from people—or even from ourselves. And I think we’ve all been victims of not seeing clearly what’s in front of us. The other day, I met an old friend for lunch in the city. First and foremost, he’s an old friend. But he’s also my former personal trainer. Before I had Jayda, I trained with this friend three times a week for many, many years. And while I still work out and eat healthfully now, I certainly don’t have the physique I’d attained while training with Jim. As he sat across the table from me, Jim told me I looked great, and I scowled at him. While I don’t expect to have the 8% body fat I used to, I would like to be 10 pounds lighter, and I certainly don’t feel like I look fabulous these days. But after our lunch, Jim emailed me that I really DO look great…”much better than I believe.” Reading his email made me smile. And I realized it’s all about keeping things in perspective. Every woman—and every mother—needs to keep things in perspective: Her daughter’s true age. The way she looks. Even the kind of mother she is. And sometimes all we need to do is take a step back and look at things from a different angle (or from another person’s viewpoint) and we’ll better see the truth. It’s a good thing to do once in awhile, and I think we all need to remind ourselves of that.

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