As a neurotic person, I’m often stuck in my own head. Strike that, I’m ALWAYS stuck in my head. On the rare occasions I do yoga, instead of concentrating on my flowing breath, I’m envying that instructor’s glorious butt muscles – so I fall down like an idiot. When I’m checking out at the grocery store, I’m thinking whether or not to splurge and get a soda, so when the employee says, “Thanks for shopping at Ralph’s,” I say, “YOU TOO.” Again, I’m an idiot. When my husband and I “do it,” I try to stay in the moment, but more likely am thinking, “You CANNOT eat as much ice cream next time before sex because you will have gas and holding farts in during sexy times is empirically NOT sexy.”
Having a child brings you me out of this neurotic, never-ending inner monologue… for brief moments. She’s so cute, and insane, and funny (and INSANE) that I necessarily have to get out of my own head for a second and focus on her. I LOVE this part of parenting.
It creates a lot of beautiful moments. When I give my daughter a bath, she gets a glint of mischief in her eyes and then splashes me with all her strength. Subsequently, a huge guffaw emanates from her tiny body creating waves in the tub. I love to see her laugh. I love when she says a word out of nowhere. The other day, our dog did something naughty (I love him but he’s kind of an asshole) and she looked at him, rolled her eyes and said, “Oh… pupp-eh!” It was like she was a tiny version of me (only with much prettier skin.) I love it when she runs at me, at top speeds, and then grabs my crotch. It’s her way of hugging me and, although it’s pretty violent, it’s adorable.
I love these moments that pull me out of my own, semi-crazy head and into the present moment. Before I get too gushy, however, let me share a TRULY transcendent moment from last night. My daughter and I were playing out in the backyard. We were running around the shed and the garden (she loves when I chase her) and she crashed into a rose bush. I know! Wonderful parenting!
I felt terrible – she was crying, and she had huge scratches on her legs. I comforted her and then we headed inside. I took off her pants to examine the cuts – they were pretty gnarly. Then, I got some soap and water to clean her up. As I was getting this, my toddler escaped to the kitchen. I walk in there and she’s on the floor, drinking from my poodle’s water dish, like a dog. She’s acting like a dog. I laugh (because, evidently, I like to encourage bad behavior. She probably can’t die from this, right???) Then, I take the dog bowl away.
My daughter doesn’t like that I took her “wa wa” away from her, so she looks me straight in the eyes and then starts peeing on the ground. She aggressively peed in front of me. Touché, toddler. You win this round.
These are the moments of motherhood that get me out of my own stupid brain and into the moment. It’s my own version of Zen – an extremely not-calm, wildly unpredictable version of Zen.