Monday, April 26, 2010

"Fake It Until You Make It."

Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler was once asked about how he got to be a famous rock star. His response: "Fake it until you make it."

I can not fake it. And I am increasingly concluding that this is a detriment to any forward movement in my "career." The girl at work who wears black boots that make a sound as she walks by, she is faking it until she makes it, and doing it really well, I think. (But just what is that sound her boots are making anyway? Are there chains wrapped around her ankles?)

Or the blond chick at work who seems to be afraid that my low-chick-on-the-totem-pole cooties will jump onto her. She won't even look at me. She is also faking it until she makes it, and she too is doing a good job.

I may be too honest. Most people don't admit their flaws or their knowledge gaps. They laugh along, or walk away, or bs until they figure it out. I have never been able to do this. I don't know why. I'm not totally against faking it. It just seems like a lot of work and energy and it would put me in a position to be called out at anytime. That sounds uncomfortable.

But where this honesty seems to be working is in mamahood. G is so real and uninhibited and cool. She doesn't play weird games and therefore doesn't expect weird games from her mama. It's all very simple: Mama hugs her and speaks to her softly, therefore mama loves her. Mama tells her "no" to sicking her finger into the outlet, therefore, she is totally curious about what that will do. Mama won't eat chocolate around her unless mama is planning on giving her some. Mama really wants to let her climb on the dining room table because she is so impressed with her, but realizes this may be setting a bad precedent.

G expects everything and everyone around her to be as simple and real as she is. If G is sad, she cries. If G is happy, she smiles. If G is frustrated that the blanket she is standing on won't move, she hisses through her clenched teeth and then cries out. She is out there with her feelings and thoughts. What you see if what you get. She knows no other way.

If only it could stay that way.

When is it that G will realize that people are more complex than they may appear? That they may have ulterior motives or deep scars or hidden flaws? When will G conclude that many people are faking it until they make it?

It worked for Steven Tyler, but I'm hoping that faking it is not the only way to make it. There are people who succeed by putting themselves out there honestly to be judged by who they truly are, and not by who they are trying to be.

That's what I hope anyway. But in any case, as a mama, I like that I am not a faker. G will never wonder how her mama really feels about her, or who her mama really is. Hopefully this will add a little simplicity and calm and stability to her life in a world that will at times feel complicated and confusing. Other people around her may not be able to give her that. But her mama always will.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Compassionate Competitiveness

There's a girl at work who carries a bag that reads, "I don't like people." I smile at her when I see her in the hall, as I do to everyone at work, with the thought that maybe someday, someone might swing the bat for me. But my smiles to this chick are consistently met with glares: big, mean, head down, lips pursed, intentional glares. It's as if she is sucking in the light around her and contaminating it with her mean vibe. The girl is good at glaring. Her bag speaks the truth.

This weekend, G met her first Not-So-Nice Toddler. My sweet nephew turned two and had a birthday party that included about 15 little peeps all running around, in and out of the house, in and out of their mamas' arms and in and out of various moods. G was happy to be somewhere different with a lot of action, but, she preferred the sidelines. She watched and took it all in.

The first time the little chick shoved G down, I was standing right there. I didn't want to just scoop her up and take her away, I sort of wanted to try to teach her something, something about being tough, or something about standing her ground or something about people. "Get back up, my grl," I told her. And the chick shoved her down again.

This little girl's mom was very nice, and as she steered her kid away and I boxed G out, she mentioned that she wished she had a little bit of whatever fire it is that her kid has. That, she said, could help her in her business world. I could use a little of it too, really. The smiles only go so far.

G was left with a bruise on her left cheek. G's dad was mad. My mama friend this morning was appalled. I'd like to think the G learned something, maybe not about being tough, (by the end of the night, G resorted to tears after a few too many shoves) or standing her ground, (G couldn't. The other chick was older and taller) or even people (I am sure G has forgotten the other chick) but, maybe something about life or birthday parties or blond chicks. Who knows?

From my end, I am now wondering about how I should teach my lady to handle aggression. Turn the other cheek? Shove back? Walk away? No option seems appealing to me. I don't want G to get into an all out brawl, but I also don't want her to neglect to stand up for herself. She'll need a bit of an edge, at times, to get where she wants to go. But then again, I wouldn't want her to shove everyone down in her way either. Can you teach compassionate competitiveness?

Here is yet another another lesson that I am not sure I understand myself.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

G's Shoes

We've had a hard time with shoes for G. She started walking around nine months, before we had time to google "baby shoe sizes." For a while we pretended that it was enough that she wore those little socks that look like shoes. But then she outgrew those. So we bought her a couple pairs of shoes, but they were too small. Then we bought her tie shoes that we thought were cute, until we tried to get them on the grl. Finally, we bought a pair of shoes that seemed to work, and then we promptly lost them.

T and I love to talk about G, and who she is, under that roly poly belly and those dark chocolate colored eyes. We wonder if you can know who a one year old will be.

G's grandma gave her a rocking lion for Christmas. G likes to stand on it. She holds on to the handle bars with both hands and her butt in the air, looking like one of the sequenced ladies in the circus riding an elephant. I don't think she can balance herself with no hands on the wobbling lion, but I know that is what she is planning on doing next. She lifts her head and smiles at me as she swings her behind to rock the lion. The grl likes a challenge.

G is good with challenges. But she is bad with mornings. T and I awake every morning to a full on 10 on the G Scream Scale. She goes for it with no warm up or anything. No, "Hello in there. I am awake and therefore you must be too!" It's just immediately, "WHY AREN'T YOU IN HERE!!!!!!! I AM AWAKE!!" It's in the morning that I find myself wondering about designer babies and if there is a way to turn on the gene that dictates "morning person." It's also the time of day that T will most likely say something like, "Man, what guy will marry her if she is like this in the mornings?" (I don't remind him, "Probably a nice guy like you.")

I already have these ideas about who G is: She is sporty. She is curious. She is awkward looking in most dresses. I can't help but make such judgments. But I am trying hard to make sure I leave G and who she is, and wants to be, open. I don't want to already have expectations of her. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow she'll decide to be a morning person and she'll have a smile for me. And then maybe by Friday, she'll decide that standing on the lion is scary.

We have shoes for G now. They are sandals, Velcro and unrestricted. They seemed to work...for a while anyway. But the other day, G loosened her foot so that her toes were free, but her heel remained strapped. She got annoyed and wanted the shoes off. These shoes apparently don't quite fit either.

That's alright. We'll go find some other shoes for G to try. She may have to go through a number of shoes before she finds a pair that fits. As long as eventually she is comfortable in whatever shoes she is wearing, that's what will really matter to me.