My shy girl.
Lily has always been shy, or perhaps the best way to describe her is wary. Wary of new people and new situations. Once she warms up she is all in, but somehow something is ingrained in her to be careful, cautious, perhaps even suspicious of the unknown. I have struggled a bit with whether I should push her or let her find her own way into things. I didn’t have to wonder for long because besides being cautious, this kid is also very strong willed. There will be no pushing allowed, maybe some gentle nudging, but that is as far as I get. It is tough as a parent, I don’t want her to be a weenie who never tries anything new or cries over seemingly inconsequential things. At the same time, she often surprises me. She is the first one to go up to other kids at the park and ask them to play. Fortunately she is blissfully unaware that putting yourself out there can backfire. I hope it stays that way.
But, I worry. I worry because sometimes she plays happily for an hour and a half at the gym daycare, and sometimes she makes it 10 minutes before she is inconsolable. When I ask her what is wrong she pretends that she hurt herself or she doesn’t feel good. I don’t want her to feel like she has to hide the fact that she just missed me or was scared to be on her own. I worry because she is starting preschool in September and OMGWHATIFSHECRIES!? I know that she will change and someday grow out of it. I want that to happen and at the same time I don’t. Part of me loves how much she needs me and maybe I’m not ready for her to grow up and get over it. The rest of me is not insane and knows it is good for her and part of becoming an independent tiny person.
As I was searching my files for this draft post, I came across an old blog post by my friend Sarah. Sarah was my English teacher in high school back when she was just a baby, but now I gratefully call her my friend. Her blog is hilarious and I am sure that, once her book is published, it will be magnificent. It was this post however that gave me what I needed today. I read this post back when it was first published, but at the time I had no context for it in my own life. I thought it was sweet and funny and smart, but then it got lost in the jumbles of my cluttered mind. Going back today it was like a light bulb lit right over my head. Actually, it was like that wall of light bulbs in the movie Chicago, the one Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones shoot at, popping all the bulbs? That, but before the bulb-shooting. Lots of light bulbs, I digress.
Go read the post, I’ll wait.
I need to step back and look at this from a different angle. So what if my kid cries easily, she’s passionate. Her heart is so big that her tiny body can’t handle all of her emotions and they must come streaming out of her face in liquid form. So what if she is wary of new situations, she is cautious, she thinks before she acts, she is deliberate. These are not traits I should try to control or hide or change. I need to embrace my kid as she is, because what she is is awesome.
I’m going to do my best to learn how to mother her through this, whether it is a stage or just her personality. I will do my best not to apologize or explain away her behavior to other parents because WHO CARES? Yes, my kid cries when she hears loud noises, but YOUR kid pushes people off of the monkey bars! Let’s go have a giant martini because parenting is hard and we are just doing the best we can.
My philosophy is this: as long as I come from a place of loving the sh*t out of my kids, a place of the best intentions, that is all that I can do. Yes I put thought into my parenting, yes I seek out advice and look to women I trust for help, but sometimes I just have to give myself a break.
To me she seems so big, but really, she is still very little. I am always fighting the urge to miss my girls being smaller, or looking forward to when they are bigger. They are only this age for this moment and I must force myself to see them and say this, THIS is my favorite age. Right this very second. And it is.
Sometimes I just stop and look at her, at this little person she is becoming, and I am so proud. This little thing that loves so very big.
Linking up with Mandy over at A Sorta Fairytale
What a good way to look at it. :) She sure looks like a sweetie pie.ReplyDelete
I have a shy guy too. He's gonna be in a wedding this summer and I am pretty terrified it could go REALLY badly!ReplyDelete
I have my own curly blond hair, blue eyed girl. She is unique with her own little quirks ~ and so different from my younger son. My husband and I laugh all the time how we can have 2 kids, with the same mom and dad, who are so completely different! We just embrace the differences.....Loved your post!ReplyDelete
I always want to cry when my kiddo goes out to the playground. I want to cry een more when he attempts to make friends and they just push him away, it hurts me more then it hurt him. He usually ends up just playing by himself. He is kind hearted though, and sometimes I don't give him enough credit.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the reminder to savor THIS as my favorite age, I needed to read this after another difficult morning with D. Also, oh my goodness, I totally got sucked into Sarah's blog!ReplyDelete
This is absolutely true. And honestly, I am guilty of apologizing for Bennett's behavior. He's wildly unpredictable and I never know how he's going to react in any given situation. But that is who he is in this stage of life, and I hvae been trying my best to just embrace it. Thank you for this reminder!! :)ReplyDelete
I think you've got it right. As long as you love your children, support them constantly, and parent them to the best of your abilities, you and them will all turn out ok :) You are so great with your girls, and it's so refreshing to see a mom fully embrace a child's personality and potentially challenging tendencies all at the same time!ReplyDelete
My Leila is the same way. Sometimes I worry for her, but then I realize that she is just a mini-me... I was the same way as a kiddo and I think I've turned out just fine. Lily is GORGEOUS by the way!ReplyDelete
So SO true! Society would love nothing more than to just bend each and every kiddo into one un annoying shape. (with plenty of personality, of course, and individuality, yes, but just not the annoying kind, says they.) But one size does not fit all and these things like compassion and sensitivity and a sweet spirit that Lily has, these are all incredible traits! And, they make up who she is. I think a balance is important as parents, because kids need guided and helped but not squashed and bent. There's a big difference in helping her go through things that might not be the most fun at first (like preschool) that will stretch her and then just shoving her out there yelling (well, figuratively so) "deal with it kid!" You are a fantastic mama Chelsea! Great post :)ReplyDelete
LOVE this. You are so right and what a great reminder to not try and control or change things with our little ones but embrace them as they are right now.ReplyDelete
PS-I'm not going to say give me Lily's hair, because that would be creepy and weird. But, well...
You are the best mommy! I love this post! Every kid is different -I LOVED Sarah's post you linked to because Sky IS A CRYBABY...! One day they will all be great in their own unique way. Sensitive isn't always a bad thing I guess? That's what I keep telling myself. :)ReplyDelete
What a sweet little girl you've got there. So nice to meet you at the blogger meet up on Saturday! XOXOReplyDelete
I don’t think that being shy during childhood will be brought to adulthood. I can attest to this since I am one of those shy children during my time, but now no one can seem to stop me when I started to talk, especially if the topic is my forte.ReplyDelete
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