It occurred to me the other day when I was pumping gas that I’m a quirky mom. Maybe all mothers are… in their own ways?
As soon as I got the nozzle where it needed to go, I started making silly faces through the car window and ducking down and popping up again, to the great delight of my children. I do this often when I pump gas so they were eagerly watching me through the window from the beginning.
It’s not just at the gas station. I have a “way” I dry my kids off after baths as well. I pull my kids out of the tub one by one, wrap each in a towel, hold them like a baby and sing to them in front of the bathroom mirror before turning them loose. The song is just a silly one, made up long ago, but even my five year old still begs for this ritual each and every time. So I wrap her in my arms and rock and sing, sometimes substituting “girlie” for baby”:
“Who’s that baby in the mirror? That’s my Mackenzie in the mirror, she’s my baby in the mirror and I love her in the mirror.”
I count in spanish when my kids dawdle on the toilet, particularly at bedtime. When Mama gets to “veinte”, it’s time to be done.
When I make pancakes, I like to serve some of them from across the room and I add dramatic sound effects when they miss my kids’ plates.
When I change diapers, I usually pull off the pants and put them promptly on my kiddo’s head and sing my made up “pants on the head” song. They laugh and laugh.
My kids know by now that driving in the car makes me hungry… for kid toes. I reach my hand back at stoplights and prowl the backseat until I find some to grab. This always causes an uproar.
So yes, I have my own mothering style. The way I do the things I do. And as strange as these things are individually and especially collectively, they’re comforting and familiar to my kids.
Sometimes I wonder what children will remember about my mothering when they grow up, and especially when they have children of their own.
Will they remember that I wrap them up like “Bean burritos” in their special blankets and zoom around the room? Will they remember how I’m always trying to borrow their appendages, one leg or finger at a time and put them in my pocket to save for later? Will they remember how I nod off while reading to them in the afternoons and have to be roused to finish the story? Will they remember how I sing to them at every nap and bedtime (and will they know by then that it’s off-key?) Will they remember how I often pretend to lose them when they’re in plain sight and call “where’s CAITLYN?” and pretend to search all around until they start giggling like mad?
I know my girls have already forgotten the many quiet hours in the middle of the night I spent nursing them as babies – the way I rocked back and forth gently in the chair and they held my hand while they drank. How they’d sigh those contented, milky-breath sighs as I laid them back in their crib and I’d always smile, even when I was exhausted. They’ve forgotten the way I ran their fingers over my eyebrows to make them giggle and the way I sat them on my hip pointing out all the ingredients while making dinner.
They may forget all the rest too, in time. But I’ll remember. These memories I’m storing up while I soak up the childhood of my kids are treasures to me.
And hey, if the only thing that “sticks” is that I love them like crazy, I’m doing my job fine.
How about you? What’s your mothering or fathering style? Surely I’m not the only one who finds herself blowing fish faces while pumping gas?