Constance Marie’s Blog: Supporting My Stuntwoman
Look who’s back! We’re thrilled to say hello again to Constance Marie, our original celebrity blogger! The actress, mom to daughter Luna Marie, 3, with fiancé Kent Katich, stars on Switched at Birth, airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.
In her latest blog, the actress’s daughter is testing her body’s limits at the playground — but Marie is always there to catch her when she falls.
|Check out Luna Marie’s chin band-aid! – Courtesy Constance Marie|
I want to start this blog with a question. Is it just my child or are ALL 3-year-olds trying to kill themselves?!
Since my last blog, my little Gandhi gentle princess has become a clumsy acrobat/ninja! Seriously, Luna Marie is like a relentless non-stop stuntwoman — with zero technique. She cannot sit still! I thought it was only boys that went Kamikaze like this!
If Luna Marie is sitting, she is not happy unless one or two legs of the chair are off the floor. Or her body is leaning off the chair, balancing precariously at the edge. Or she’s balanced in the middle of two chairs in some kind of crazy uncomfortable-looking frog split — her favorite position.
Now before I continue, I need to point out that YES! I make sure my child is safe. YES! I keep her near me. And YES! I always use extreme caution. BUT …
If Luna Marie is at the park, my child is not happy unless she’s on the highest bar of the jungle gym or the tallest branch of a tree or jumping over the biggest, deepest hole.
Luna Marie does all this with the same two mantras. The first one: “Mommmmmma!!! Look at me!!! Look at me, Momma!!!”
For me, this is the hardest time. I don’t want to treat my little girl like she’s made out of glass or wrap her in bubble wrap or anything! And I also don’t want to be constantly correcting her or warning her. Or my least favorite, reprimanding her.
I mean, I don’t want her to be such a delicate flower that she’s too prissy to play and get out there and mix it up! I don’t want to keep her all dolled up and clean … I want her to feel she’s more than just a pretty face.
|Scaring Mom – Courtesy Constance Marie|
So at the park, when she’s going crazy like a Tasmanian devil — jumping, swinging, flipping and yes, falling — there I sit, stand or hover, filled with anxiety, oh so closely by my child’s side.
That’s when the non-stop debate in my head begins. Should I step in? Am I being overprotective? Am I neglecting her? Am I smothering her? Am I … am I … AM I?
THEN, when I decide to jump in and rescue her, I am LOUDLY rebuffed with, “I don’t need help, Momma!” Only to be asked literally, I kid you not, two seconds later: “Momma! I need help! Please help me!” Luna Marie pleads this desperately, like she has no recollection of the previous sentence. Crazy kid.
At the park, I usually know for sure that she’s doing something that’s going to give her a boo boo. Often I am so conflicted, but I stand back and let her do it anyway (unless she’s going to break a bone or blind herself, of course). I want her to have the experience of trial and error … to have the opportunity to find out first-hand what will and what will not work. I want her to have her process!
I sit there with the most authentic smile on my face. THANK GOD I AM AN ACTRESS! I try to say supportive things other than “good job” (honestly I think we have worn that phrase into the ground, right?). I try to be creative: “Look how strong you are.” “That jump was SO far.” “Wow you fell in the dirt and didn’t get a boo boo — EXCELLENT!”
Basically I just try not to cringe! I watch her face beaming with enthusiasm and adventure … full of just plain feistiness and pride while she experiments with her “feats of strength” — a.k.a. falling down a lot!
I mean, THAT is what we want, right? Our little girls to grow up to be independent women aware of their capabilities and proud of their accomplishments, with strong bodies and a healthy self esteem. I figure that here is where it first starts, where the rubber meets the road: the playground, with Luna Marie bumbling and tripping through her “feats of strength.”
I let her relish in all that her body and sense of adventure can do (no matter how much it frickin’ tortures me). I let her push herself. I let her experiment, to have the pride and excitement even though I am worried pretty much every single minute. Yep! I take a lot of deep breaths and am exhausted when we are done!
|So proud of herself – Courtesy Constance Marie|
But that’s just it, isn’t it? That’s the job … motherhood. This whole parenthood thing isn’t really about me (dammit!). It’s about her. That is motherhood — tolerating the anxiety of allowing her the room to grow. Allowing her to make the mistakes and learn from them.
Usually I try to wrap it up and leave on a high note … but sometimes, I misread how much energy she has. She gets tired, and right before I can make a hasty escape … BONK! The boo boo comes, as I was pretty sure it would.
And there I am, the momma. I try to do my best impression of a comforting superhero — like a big bear, I hold her while she cries, I soothe her, I wait. I ask for a recap of what happened. I inquire as to where the boo boo is. And after she has relaxed a bit, I ask her what she could do to avoid that boo boo happening next time. (HINT HINT!!!)
Then she whimpers a little, and then — ka-pow! — like the Energizer bunny on steroids, she’s up again and running, onto the next thing. (Please God, let her learn something about her limits, her power or her resilience … something! Please, before I LOSE it!)
Then, she starts in with the second mantra — this one is my favorite! — “Babies can’t do that.” That’s when the smile happens. The biggest, fattest, 1,000 watt smile of confidence. My little Luna Marie is so proud! She wants to prove that she is growing bigger and stronger every day. She wants to be a big girl so fast it’s unbelievable. If she could be a teenager tomorrow, she would!
That is her dream — to be older! Funny, as women when we actually are older, all we want is to be younger! OY!
Oh! My little Luna Marie has plans … she starts talking about the next time and what she’s going to do next time, and when she is bigger she’ll do more. Then again she asks me, “Momma? Babies can’t do that?” And I say, “No they can’t … you’re right, sunshine. Babies cannot do that. You are a big girl now.”
Oh my gosh! This mommyhood thing is going to be a looong ride. Wish me luck! I would love to hear your stories about your little stuntwomen and ninja men too!
|Shady ladies – Courtesy Constance Marie|
— Constance Marie