Child development books said Baby will begin to judge me when she reaches a certain stage age and find me wanting. But the possibility seemed so remote while my angel was still an infant. She looked at me with dazzled eyes, and everything I did was just right. Sometimes she'd pat my face lovingly, stars in her eyes as she said: “you’re pwetty; so pwetty!”
Then she grew just old enough to start judging me more harshly, but not old enough to stay quiet about her un-favorable discoveries. Here are five of her more uncomfortable questions:
1. What exactly is it that you can do really well?
She asked this question after she discovered I couldn’t do cartwheels and was not planning to learn any time soon.
I explained I could research and write stories, raise a child, renovate a house, grow vegetables and cook. I'm a good friend, fun to be with and some people considere me to be quite funny,I said. All this she dismissed as irrelevant.
‘I’m talking about things that are important to kids, not dull grown-up stuff,” she clarified.
Upon probing, I admitted I couldn’t sew a straight line and knit blanket squares to help with her fashion projects. I couldn’t make a metal robot (school project), write in cursive or make mermaid wings for a costume party. I didn't want to learn to make crystal beads, and while I can bake a decent enough cake, I’d rather just pop into the bakery and get something really sinful.
She conceded I was good with Internet research, but the jury was out as how useful that skill was in her life. A couple of weeks before, I accidentally killed her silkworms, despite the fact that we’d done some research on their proper care and feeding.
2. Are you nerd?
I wanted to say: “No there’s a bombshell hiding under the seemingly ordinary exterior, but bombshell is not the kind of image a mother projects to her family/friends/colleagues.”
But every time I get geek humor emails from friends, or argue the fine point of deploying some network technology over another with a colleague, it strikes me I must have the soul of nerd.
3. Did you used to be pretty?
I wanted to respond with,” you used to think so, you blind little girl!” but instead I said, "I’m still pretty.” She just rolled her eyes.
4. Why don’t you dress in nice clothes like Ana’s mother?
I wish I had resources to match Ana’s mother so I could give my wardrobe a bit of a boost. But I’m a journalist and author with market related earnings, a 1930s house that contantly needs renovation or fixing and a growing child who constantly outgrows her clothes and needs a solid education.
Ana’s mother, on the other hand, lives in a new up-market development and drives a Ferrari. I don't know how she earns her living, but I’m sure her clothing and cosmetics budget exceeds my monthly home loan repayment.
5. What are you going to be when you grow up?
I either I look young for my age, or I’m so immature she’s not aware I’m grown up already. I prefer the former, of course.
And just when I began to wonder if there's anything I can get right these days, she says: “You are the best mother in the whole wide world.”
We were not shopping for clothes for her at the time, I swear.