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