Indeed, the other day, Claire fancied herself the architect of her favorite playground, and needed to give her Uncle Tom a tour of her brainchild.
Uncle Tom happily agreed to check out her swings and slide. That was fine, except Claire looked more suited for an afternoon nap than for the playground. She was still wearing pajamas, and she had bed head: her hair was smushed to the back of her head in endless tangles.
I usually don't care how Claire looks. There are only so many toddler battles I can face in a day. Why fight her when she wants to keep on her bow pajamas? (I did let her go out with underwear on her head one time, though. The funny part was that no one even batted an eye. Remember: we live in NYC; people are thankfully non-plussed.)
But Uncle Tom and Claire decided a trip to the park was imminent. And Tom is a photographer. When he grabbed his camera before heading out the door, I looked at Claire and said to him, “You’re not going to put these on Facebook are you? I don’t want anyone knowing I let Claire go out this way.”
Ah, yes, my child as brilliant extension of me. Those time when I see my daughter’s looks or her behavior or her intelligence as a reflection on me.
It got me thinking about the boundary that begins developing between parent and child the second they leave the womb. And, consequently, how we grow a child's sense of self.
I read somewhere that the relationship between a parent and child is unique, because it’s the only one in which the purpose is to love and nurture enough to let the person go.
A good place to start the slow, sometimes painful, process of separation is letting my daughter choose what she wears.
But, sometimes, I'm more concerned about myself than Claire's sense of self. Like the days when we are going to go visit Grammy or taking a picture with Santa. Those days, I am full of bribes and threats to have my sweet innocent reflect her beauty back on me.
Other days, I let her be. She did go to the playground in all of her bedheaded, pajamaed glory. And I have a brilliant Uncle Tom photo to prove it. I barely even notice the pajamas in it. If I do say so myself, I couldn't ask for a better reflection on me...
|Photo Source: Tom Bruso|
There's more...Jane Marsh of Nothing by the Book got me thinking about this topic. She has a definite opinion about hair brushing that I can safely say would go in the "Celebrating Bed Head" category. What's your opinion about how a child should look?
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