Right after Hubby and I had nicely settled into a routine of comfort and familiarity – which became even more relaxed after the first pregnancy – Jane had the idea of growing into a full-fledged human being with a keen awareness of her surroundings.
But Jane’s awakening, which started around 15 months, has been more taxing than I anticipated. It’s as if I’ve been thrown back to those awkward dating days of always having to put your best foot forward that I was glad to get rid of after getting married. (You know what I mean . . . sneaking out of bed early to put on your “no makeup” makeup!)
Now I have to put on my best face again. This time, it’s for Jane’s benefit.
Being a role model to Jane means that I must exemplify at every moment how I think she should conduct herself. I can’t very well expect her to be polite if I don’t say “please” and “thank you.” And why would she monitor her choice of words or care about her appearance, if I give in to swearing in front of her and running around town in ratty sweat pants all the time.
Like the old dating days, now I have to:
- Mind my manners at all times, including being graceful and poised at home and in public.
- Curb all bodily noises.
- Clean up my vocabulary. (This means not only avoiding a potty mouth, but choosing a rich spectrum of words in our dialogues like “The colors you chose for your painting are very bright and remind me of the springtime colors from the garden” instead of a lazy, “Great!” or “Awesome!”).
- Stop being so lazy. (If she sees me keep house the way I’m naturally inclined to, she will grow up to be a terrifyingly slovenly pig).
- Keep up my health and fitness. (While she might not care whether I’m a size 2 or a 10, she will adopt the sluggish lifestyle I’ve perfected after three years of not exercising and eating for two if I’m not careful).
- Maintain my highlights, manicure and wardrobe. (Again, if she sees a slob, she’ll be a slob).
- Be witty and cheerful every day, even if I’m actually feeling like a grump.
- Think of new and interesting “dates” and activities on a daily basis.
Just looking at this list is exhausting, especially when there is no prospect of the familiar “comfort zone” in sight! I suppose in the end, though, I’ll benefit from stepping it up, too. And I’m sure Hubby won’t mind if I get out of these sweat pants.