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At some point, I will develop a sense of shame. Also, some dignity.

Once in a while, I rock back on my heels and try to remember exactly what happened right after I delivered Aura in the hospital over three years ago. My memories are all very fuzzy and tinted with excruciating pain, but I do suspect that the doctor, as she was magically disappearing the placenta, may have asked if I wanted her to also magically disappear my self-respect. Additionally, I suspect that I may have groaned, waved a hand idly, and muttered something along the lines of “Do with it what you will.”  

Case in point: As I was grocery shopping last night, I caught myself singing and dancing in the middle of the bread aisle. And when I say dancing, I mean I was really breaking it down, snapping and then twirling, Michael Jackson–style, smack in front of the English muffins. I have no idea how long it had been going on before I realized what I was doing. I can tell you that there was a gaggle of stockboys gathered at the other end of the aisle, all of whom were clutching their scrawny teenage sides in hysterics while holding onto a nearby shelf of pumpernickel, lest they collapse completely.

The worst part? The song that inspired all this was by…Hall and Oates. It wasn’t like I was making a fool of myself to Lady Gaga or Jay-Z or any other musician who was at least BORN IN THE LAST FOUR DECADES and who performed WITHOUT A MULLET. While I’m sure John Oates is a perfectly wonderful man, I feel that it is not terribly farfetched to postulate that he used to look like a serial killer. A serial killer WITH A MULLET.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this kind of thing has happened more and more since Aura arrived on the scene.  And after hearing another mother’s take on the unexpected joys of parenthood over at A Day in the Life of a Surferwife, I’ve been throwing around the idea that my widening dearth of self-pride, my newish ability to unconsciously make an ass out of myself, might actually be one of these joys.

Think about it. Even if you are the most self-absorbed, self-conscious person in the world, you won’t be once you have a kid. The math is simple: There’s just not enough time, and there’s definitely not enough energy. It’s just easier to squeal at the toy store than remain composed, less work to race your child down the slides at the playground than insist you’re happier sitting on a nearby bench.

As someone who used to worry compulsively about her appearance and behavior, a little—and maybe a lot of—complacency is actually pretty welcome. Aura has put things in perspective. While it’s highly unlikely that the neighborhood stockboys will remember my dance a month from now, I like to think that Aura will remember, in some hazy, nebulous way, that I used to make up loud, silly songs with her in restaurants, that we galloped like horses, side by side, in very public parking lots. And I hope she’ll never realize that before she came along, I was afraid to do all that.

In the meantime, I’m hedging my bets and trying to save most acts of potential stupidity for situations where they won’t draw too much attention. Like bowling. When everyone around you is also wearing the world’s ugliest shoes, it’s impossible not to blend right in.

Cutest hair clip ever, yes? Made by friend and fellow mom Jen at linaloos.com.

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