Oh, the inadequacy.
I guess you can say it all started with class picture day in kindergarten 26 years ago.
There we were–Mrs. Moran’s star pupils–all decked out in our Sunday best.
Except, well, me.
While most of my peers donned frilly new dresses, matching sweater vests and crisp collared shirts, I on the other hand was adorned in a fashionable thrift store red turtleneck and grey corduroy pants–the pièce de résistance obviously being the brand new (brand new was a big deal to me as a kid) velcro shoes from BiWay.
Growing up, I was shy and weird and different. I was always playing catch-up when it came to physical and social norms. For example:
- I was a big time nerd. I spent recess in the computer lab
- Being the shortest girl in the class relegated me time and time again to the front row (the least cool row) on picture day
- My mother insisted that I always wear my hair in a stylish ponytail, because you know, lice
- I’m fairly certain that most of the birthday parties I was invited to were out of pity/due to my mother threatening other mothers
- School dances: LOL
- One time, the girls in my class gave me a She’s All That makeover at camp, as part of what I can only assume was some sort of dork outreach program
- In the eighth grade, the cutest boy in the class told me that my hair “looked good down”, and I nearly passed out and banged my head on the desk
Mercifully, I grew up in an era where schoolyard violence wasn’t really a thing, and bullying was limited to the cool girls who could afford new clothes and dance lessons shouting, “Rebecca smells!” across the locker room.
Growing up was really isolating, so I guess that’s why I’m such a pushy, impatient new mom now. Sometimes, all I can think about is how badly I want my son to catch up. To be just like the other kids.
All around me (and by ‘all around me’ of course I mean ‘via photos of everyone’s children on Facebook’) babies his age–and sometimes younger–are reaching milestones before him. Milestones like lifting their heads more than two inches off the ground, deliberately holding their toys, and rolling over unassisted.
This guts me, and the rational side of me knows how stupid that is. I need to cut him some slack. After all, the poor sod spent nearly the entire month of February lying horizontal in a hospital bed. He’s going to be a little behind. But the emotional side is a lot harder to appeal to.
Almost as hard as resisting the urge to capture his adorable little fails on camera.
For example, here is a series of him trying, and failing, to lift his gigantic head off the ground during tummy time:
Here he is demonstrating how to improperly use his sit-me-up chair:
And here he is doing half the work of rolling over:
I recognize how unfair my frustrations are as I write this very sentence. I know he’ll get there. He’s had some setbacks, but truthfully, if he can make it through 22 days of hospital hell, he can make it through anything–particularly his mother’s neuroses.
Now I’m going to finish this entry the way it began–with another humiliating anecdote from my youth.
One warm day late into my eighth grade year, I was beckoned over by the cool girls at recess. I don’t really remember much of the exchange, but as I walked away, I heard them joyously proclaim to everyone within earshot that, “Rebecca has a pretty face, but no chest.”
Seems like things worked out okay for me. I have high hopes for you, kid.
I’ll be waiting for your call, Maury.