My daughter turned 8 months old on the 14th of this month. She's almost a year old when it seems just like yesterday that she was born.
Can't believe it has been 8 months already since the words I have a daughter started to mean something. Can't believe it has been 8 months since I became a mother.
Time flew by so fast. So, fast that the first real moment when I became a mother now seems way back in the past and my birthing experience, a blur. That pre-motherhood life now seems a distant reality, which, I must be honest, I do crave for sometimes. It's hard to fathom how time passed by changing nappies, planning feeds and of course with lots of cuddles, tears, and kisses.
These past months have been about so many firsts. The first time she smiled at us. The first time she sat up. The first time she rolled. The first time she travelled by air. Her first day at the crèche. And now her very first teeth.
Yes, we seem to have come upon that milestone, teething. These days when she laughs, two tiny teeth make their presence felt. Never knew though that this would also be a reason to celebrate. Oh motherhood, you baffle me each day.
While each of her firsts has been exciting, this one has gotten me a little worried. If you have met me in person then you might have an inkling as to why.
My central incisors have a gap in between which just doesn't fit the standards of conventional beauty. Yes, I have gap teeth and they are crooked too.
Though I have never really been bothered about it or felt the need to compensate for it, I also know that people have often made fun of it behind my back. Sometimes even on my face. It is the first thing people notice about me. I know.
Today, with my daughter teething, I'm suddenly filled with an anxiety. What if her teeth turn out to be like mine? Will she be able to handle being mocked at by her peers? Will her confidence be affected by how she looks on the outside?
Motherhood really does make you apprehensive about all sorts of things. This being no different.
If I were someone else, I would have asked her not to worry about it at all. But knowing me, I know I wouldn't listen to me. But listen to me, I must.
This sudden fear makes me realise how important it is for me to teach my daughter about beauty. No, not what the society propagates as beauty but the real meaning of beauty. I need to tell her, no actually show her, that beauty is skin deep no matter how clichéd it sounds.
Maybe my daughter will end up having teeth like mine. Or, even hair like mine, brittle and defying gravity. Maybe she'll be nothing like me. But to me and S, she'll still be the prettiest, most precious girl in the whole wide world. For us, her beauty will be in her heart, in her confidence and in her being comfortable in her own skin. So, if anything, this little anxiety that fills me today should serve as a reminder of the things I need to teach her.
I know she's just 8 months old but in no time comparisons will start. In fact, a lot of it has started already. Oh, she doesn't crawl, yet? What, she doesn't say mum yet? She has very little hair, so sad!
See what I mean?
I need to teach her, and remind myself too, that what people think about her isn't important. I need to teach her that education is beautiful. And hence, every educated person is beautiful. I need to teach her, and remind myself too, that it's the heart which is beautiful. And hence, every good person is beautiful. What others think of her wouldn't and shouldn't matter because we never really can change people's opinions or perceptions.
As she sleeps beside me, I promise myself that I'll help her see beauty in substance and not in the sexist, unfair parameters set by society. I promise that I'll never complain about my hair or teeth in front of her. I certainly wouldn't pass on my insecurities on to her with that kind of behaviour.
As she grows older through teething, falls, bodily changes and more, I'll whisper into her ears every single night that she is enough, she is strong and she is beautiful. I'll tell her that she's beautiful just the way she is, with or without a gap between her teeth.
Labels: MommyTalks, Motherhood