Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Camille, My Love

I've had this entry kind of rolling around for a couple of weeks now. Life happened as it tends to do, and I found it getting pushed back behind Statement of Purposes, GREs, and general "OMG, I need to get graduate applications in by December!" But then I read this, a friend's post that promptly brought my own post back to the front of my clutter brain.

I thought when pregnant that we needed to prepare Piper. Piper was the one whose place in the family was going to be usurped. Thus I spent lots of time reassuring Piper that she would always be my baby. That I loved her so much, and that the new baby could never replace her. She always looked me with this sassy "Well duh." expression. Piper is not lacking in confidence.

Within a very short period of time, it became apparent that Camille was the one who felt displaced. Her mood swings become more drastic. She acted mouthy and rude. Her feelings about R were ambivalent at best. And we jumped in right away to reassure her but I sometimes think it would have been better if we could have just caught it earlier.

And I wish it was H that she wanted. See I have always felt a little bit of distance with Camille. Despite being the child that is by far the most like, she is also the one I don't feel as close too. For one thing, Camille is often hard to get close too. Like her mama, she is a bit prickly and it takes some work to push past those prickles to the warm person she can be. Plus, I had to leave Camille at daycare when she was about three months old. This is not a bad or a good thing but it is not something I had to do with the other three. And it hurt. I cried all the way to work because the last thing I wanted to do was leave my precious baby there. But we had to eat. H had her a lot more than I did for the first two years of her life. It was apparent that she ADORED him (and who can blame her? I do too!). H is a superb father, one of the best, and if you ever doubt it look at the way Camille looks at him. I figured that there was this distance between the both of us. That she prefered H in all things, and that I wasn't nearly as important. So when this stuff started happening, I pushed her to H. I figured if H spent more time with her than with R she would be okay.

Whoa boy did it ever backfire! R now loves her papa but prefers me so much that she's not exactly happy when left with H while I work.  It's not fun for anyone in this apartment when I have to leave her. But Camille wants me. She wants to do things alone with her mama. It moves me profoundly to have this happen. My heart hurts when I even write this out. Camille wants to go out with me. She wants to read her stories to me. She wants to go out shopping with me. She wants to do things with her mama. And now I have over attched baby who hates being in a micro inch away from me.

But there is still this tension between us. I suspect because we are so much alike. There is that tug towards and away that happened between my mother and I. I suspected it might happen later but not so soon. And I am not sure if I can head this tension off or if it's something that comes with the mother/daughter territory. I do not ever want to feel distance and alienated from my love, my Camille. I want us to draw from each other's strengths instead of pushing against. I feel this as we butt heads again over Math work. As she yells at me because I won't do watt she wants RIGHT NOW. As we argue over picking up her papers or clothes. Sometimes the day feels like a huge explosion of one crisis after another until I am so exhausted I shut down. I don't want this for my relationship with this lovely headstrong, powerful girl. I want our relationship to be mutually nurturing. It's just that sometimes I am not sure how to go about do that.

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