Operation Caffeination

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Mom guilt

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I forgot to feed Darren anything for dinner this evening. We were having a little party to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday and there was food everywhere; I just assumed that someone had helped him get a bite to eat at some point. The poor baby got all the way to bed before realizing that he’d had nothing to eat.

I feel terrible.

In my defense, it doesn’t make much of a difference if I spend my day waiting on him hand and foot. He won’t eat the food I give him. It doesn’t matter what sort of food I serve, he’ll peck at it and throw the rest away.

I experience this same sort of intense guilt on the rare day when Jon is home and I realize at bedtime that I’ve hardly heard a word Darren has said to me all day because I’ve been soaking the adult conversation in through my pores…but again, on the normal days when Darren and I are left to bounce off of one another for hours on end, I struggle to get a word out of him. I find myself singing loudly, dancing around the house, organizing playdates and zoo trips and ferry rides and days at the beach, trying to get that kid to crack a smile. I have been a nanny for years and was very successful as a caregiver in a nursing home. People tend to like me, and I am at my best in situations that call on my nurturative abilities. Perhaps that’s why it stings so much that I am locked out, unable to nurture and connect with my own child.

Darren and I look quite similar, at least in coloring, but I think that is all we share in common between us. Where I am talkative, he is all inside his own head. Where I love culinary adventures, he wants the driest, plainest foods, served in exactly the same way, day after day after day. Don’t get me wrong, he is a delightful person…I think. What I know about him seems delightful. He’s funny, quirky, loves animals and computers and games and oh, especially computer games. He loves Dr. Seuss, almond butter (NOT peanut butter, which is totally different), and his BFF, a funny little Jewish girl who lives in our neighborhood and spends most of her time right now pretending to be the hoppy princess of hopping. He isn’t the least bit antisocial. He will strike up conversations with strangers and instinctively understands what makes people tick. When the BFF’s birthday rolled around this year, Darren and I spent twenty minutes at the fabric store, selecting the exact right shade of purple ribbon and a diamond bead that he insisted we glue to the top of her present. And, yeah, the present really did scream out her name when we finished wrapping and decorating it, and the BFF loved it. I felt almost jealous watching the two of them laugh and play together, though, because it is so easy for her to read him, for the two of them to get along and solve problems and relate.

Meanwhile, I’m still locked out, trapped on the outside.

I just want to know what goes on inside that head.

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Written by GRSeim

February 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

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