I Hear You

Dooce took her kid to San Francisco and it was not a lot of fun:

"Everything that they tell you about the love you'll have for your child is true, but there's all this other stuff that is true, too, stuff that you're afraid to talk about, stuff that you carry around and try to hide. Stuff like resentment and fear and anxiety and longing."

We're having a good time here in Beijing. But I've been having these feelings, too. One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was confront this stuff -- figure out why I sometimes feel this way, and what it is all about. Travel is good for this kind of exploration-- I am alone with Jane for long stretches and without babysitting options so it's critical that I just learn to deal.

One thing that's occurred to me: I love Jane for her innocence and beauty (I admit it). I also love watching her in new situations, because I feel like I am discovering who she is. But she is not only some kind of sui generis entity. She needs to learn things, important things about how to be with other people and how to give and take. A certain, uh, reciprocity is missing from our relationship. I am starting to think that it is my job to help her learn this.

I suspect lots of parents feel the anger and resentment Dooce mentions. Mostly no one talks about it. Our ideas about motherhood and childhood do not include this discourse, or if they do, it's only in the context of illness, like postnatal depression or valium for stressed-out mothers or ritalin for off-the-wall kids.

Which is what they all are, sometimes.

Speaking of walls -- the Great Wall is on the agenda for tomorrow.