February 19, 2008

Smile for the Camera

The wild days of parenting negligence and apathy are over. Pixie is three and I'm pretty sure some adults have memories from that age. The pressure is on for me to perform. I used to be able to wave off letting her cry in her room for hours or laying on the couch eating potato chips while she begged me to read her books. She'll never remember this anyway, I'd tell myself. My husband is always reminding me that babies have the memories of goldfish. But soon after her third birthday, an ominous thought has haunted me. Anything I say or do can and will be held against me in the Court of Parenting.

I took Pixie out yesterday to try her new tricycle. These are the moments that childhood is supposedly about. Watching her figure out how to pedal, offering encouraging shouts as she wobbles down the sidewalk - but I couldn't enjoy it like I should have. I felt like there was a camera guy following me down the sidewalk recording my every movement. Waiting for that one gesture of impatience. That one moment when I looked at my watch. Waiting to capture that one moment that would mar my child's eternal perception of her childhood.

I know, I know, it's a ridiculous thing to worry about, but nevertheless, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being watched. So I took extra care to smile grandly. I tidied my hair and patted Pixie's shoulder with love. Surely, the camera guy was getting this. Hopefully Pixie's future memories of me would remember the good as well as the bad. Would this be her first memory of me as her mother? Or would it be the moment that I lagged behind and she went spilling face first from her tricycle onto the pavement?

I hate the pressure of the camera. But there is no denying it - dress rehearsal is over and now I've got to face the lights. Pixie could remember anything. I want it to be perfect. Line please?

11 comments:

bythelbs said...

I've totally felt like this! There comes that day when you realize they might actually keep this moment locked in a memory. Just wait til your kids are old enough to start throwing the past in your face!

Angie said...

I can relate. As I chewed out my nearly 5 year old yesterday in a way I thought may scar him for life, I realized, Holy COW, THIS REALLY MAY SCAR HIM FOR LIFE! You will spend a lot of time aplogizing now. I do, anyway.
KEEP BELIEVING

Spike said...

well, they say the average person gets filmed 20 times a day. so someone probably was recording it.

Kels said...

Hmmm... since I have yet to produce offspring, I can't relate in any other way than to say I vaguely remember things from the age of 3... or 4... yes, there are I guess what you'd consider "scarring moments" in my childhood that I remember... but I think that when Pixie gets to be our age and has kids of her own, she'll understand what all those moments were about!

And what is Spike talking about? That's just creepy...! lol If someone is filming me, then they're filming classrooms of kids... they probably aren't really even interested in me... especially if they're the pedophile type ;-)

Hollywood said...

Spike's "20 times a day" comment is because of traffic cameras, security cameras, satellite and the like. Haven't you guys ever seen the show "24?" They can track a rat across L.A. with all the cameras this city has rigged up.

The Wiz said...

Um, yeah. She won't remember MUCH at this age. Let the pressure off a little. The camera isn't always on.

Calidaho said...

One of my earliest memories was of fishing with my dad. We were sitting on some large rocks at a lake and a big spider crawled toward me, "Daddy! A spider!" He promptly reached over and squished it with his bare thumb.

"I didn't want you to kill it!"

While it could have seemed traumatic, it became one of those funny memories. And I actually think of how much of a hero he was to kill the thing with his bare hands!

Perla said...

I think the best way to not worry about her remembering these memories is to do what my parents did (with the aid of my eight older siblings)...they constantly reminded me of funny, happy or embarrassing things that happened to me when I was younger. These stories, that I couldn't and can't remember are now my most fond memories. Except for when my Mom rolled up my finger in the window because I wouldn't move my hand and when I hid for hours because nobody cared about me and to prove it, I'd show myself that nobody would look for me and those kinds of things. Haha. The fact that you think like this and that you worry just shows that you are an awesome mom and Pixie is going to have tons of great memories! Okay, that is a super long comment. On a serious note...one way to build a strong bond and also create good memories that will last is to create a ritual. You probably already have them, but you might be interested in reading "Loving Rituals" or...maybe e-mailing me if you are the least bit interested and I will quickly summarize because this is the longest comment in the history of comments.

Jill said...

It's hard to know how much they will remember. My 7 year old can recall detailed things that happened when he was 14 months old. My 9 year old can't remember what happened yesterday. ("No Mom, I don't remember you asking me to do the dishes")
Go figure.

Lindsay said...

So I'm not the only one with a camera following my every move?

S'mee said...

...wait until they turn 16 and you finally realize they will be leaving home in 2 years...then the panic sets in.