Adolescent perception of self: Nerdy bookworm
Teenage perception of self: Awkward semi-athlete
Young adult perception of self: Brazen feminist
Current perception of self: Cheese-eating, money-spending nose-picker?
It’s funny how we define ourselves. For so long, I had the luxury of being a narcissist who believed I was perfect (or perfectly flawed) based solely on what stood out in my mind as key behaviors.
In those days, I didn’t have a tiny, toddling reminder of how even the most obscure actions can affect the way others perceive us. Now that Monster is around, I’m taking note of how he (and others?) views me through the way he mimics me.
In an ideal world, he would impersonate me by reading a book, eating vegetables and fighting crime (and by crime, I mean the ants that occasionally make an appearance in our kitchen).
But no, that’s not the way Monster perceives me. In the past week, there have been some frightening realizations:
For the past few months, every time we go to the grocery, Monster starts bouncing in his seat in the cart, arms outreached, grunting, pointing. I used to think he was just excited to be in a store filled with food.
Then I saw what he was desperate to get to: the cheese samples.
Whenever they have the cheese samples, I take a toothpick and put as many pieces of cheese as possible on it – for a thinly-sliced Swiss, you can get a good eight or so pieces.
This weekend, David had the joy of taking our gouda-grabber to Harris Teeter. Upon returning, he said to me, “You take Monster to the store with you a lot, huh?”
“Yeah – did he head straight for the cheese?”
“Well, yes, but that’s not what I was getting at.”
Apparently, my son has also learned how to swipe a credit card.
That I can deal with. I’m a little more concerned with him carrying my purse tucked under his arm – exactly the way I do it – and almost … strutting. Very proudly. I’m happy for my son to enjoy playing with purses. I’m not so happy that he has chosen this image of me to impersonate.
But the cheese-eating and purse-strutting aren’t as bad as the nose-picking.
Don’t lie – everyone picks their nose. Some do it with a tissue, some do it on national TV, but we all do it.
I didn’t realize, though, that Monster associated this with me until on evening he mock-picked my nose, then picked his, then whined until I put my finger in my nose and we both looked at each other with our fingers up our noses. And then he smiled.
I’m sure there are more favorable images he has of me, but these are the ones that have been glaringly obvious this week.