How do I know when my Mini-Me is sick? Because I take her temperature? Because I know the symptoms? Because the doctor says so? Because I just know?
No. (Well OK, Yes.)
But, I know that my particular Mini Me is particularly out of sorts because she presses pause on her life’s mission of convincing me that she hates me, and for just a short time she won’t let me out of her sight!
As the mummy of a Threenager, I am now becoming used to the fact that to her, I am Public Enemy Number 1. When Mammy says no, she runs to her “wee Daddy Bear” or Granny, or Uncle, or indeed the Dog. I have caught her sitting beside the beast that is our 6 year old puppy, filling him in on how bold Mammy is.
She uses Mammy to test her boundaries, to learn to use her voice, to establish her tone and to practice all of her communication skills. Yesterday, she moved on to giving me my full title to denote her discontentment…”Mammy Ria Wushe!” It was quite impressive actually.
I’m often reminded of one of my favourite poems by Sylvia Plath, “Morning song”. For years, I’ve been teaching the lines
“I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.”
…And while I have always understood the lines, until I became a Mammy, I never really understood them.
I understand them now: I’m nothing but a big puddle into which she sticks her chubby little toe to test the waters of life.
She uses me to learn how to assert herself, and she does it so well that Hubby even admitted this afternoon that she’s a little bit scary! She uses me to develop her social skills, to suss out how relationships work. I am her metaphoric punch bag: her dress rehearsal.
So when Mini Me spends two whole days on the sofa, refusing to let me out of her sight; when she says the words “Mammy I neeeeeeed you.” at least a dozen times a day; when I can’t even leave the room long enough to pee without her calling for me…that’s when I know she’s not herself. That’s how I know that she’s ailing for something or just not feeling her best.
It might come before the temperature or the sniffles or the trip to the doctor. It might last the whole length of whatever nasty little bug she’s picked up this time. It might be exhausting, especially at 3am. But it’s how I’m reminded that despite being her arch nemesis most of the time, I am indeed her Mammy and she loves me.
And I’ll happily admit that while I obviously enjoy hugs and snuggles without the bugs and sniffles, I’ll sit on that sofa in my PJs watching re-runs of RTE Junior until my little Peppa Piggy is better and wants to go splashing in those muddy puddles again.
I am Sick Baby Mum. 🙂