Monday, January 16, 2012

A Mutual Codependence

A couple weeks ago I allowed my forty-one year old feelings to get hurt by a five year old. Katie told me she feels like a baby when I'm the reading helper in her kindergarten class, if you recall in my post about it. I couldn't believe it. I had assumed she'd love having me play such an active role in her education. It never even dawned on me that she might feel smothered. S...mothered. Hmmm.

Well I'm the one who has learned my lesson from this dramatic episode of life. So the first week after Katie broke the news to me, I stayed home from my reading helper gig sick with a cold. Or possibly psychosomatic vindictiveness. The next week I felt better so I decided to go. I told Katie I didn't want to make her feel like a baby, but I had an important job to do because her teacher didn't have enough help and depended on me. I struck a deal with her: in an effort to treat her like a big kid, I would basically ignore her during class, other than when it was her turn to read to me, and I would not give her a kiss in front of her classmates when it would be time for me to go. Deal.

So we got there. I listened to each child read. When it was Katie's turn, I checked with her.

"How's this working? Do you feel like a baby with me here?"

"Nope!"

She even came over to me once to give me a kiss, before I was close to getting ready to leave. In front of everyone. Hmmm.

So I finished and put on my coat. I waved to the entire class and said, "Goodbye everyone!"

I turned to walk out the door and heard behind me a screaming child.

"Mama! Mama! Don't go!"

I turned around and Katie was running to me, arms outstretched, face contorted as if she was about to cry.

"Sweetie! It's ok. I'll be back in just an hour and a half to pick you up and then we'll have the whole rest of the day together."

After a long hug and several kisses, she released me.

Ahhh, the moods of a five year old.

But you know what? I'm not all that much more mature.

After I left the classroom it was all I could do not to run down the hall, clicking my heels up in the air like in an old Hollywood musical, bursting out singing, "She still neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeds me! My baby neeeeeeeeeeeeds me!"

At least it's once again a mutual codependence.