Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Motherhood and More: Better-ish a step in the right direction*

Nobody say it too loudly, but I think we might have turned a corner with my daughter.

Sort of.

I mean, she still can throw down with the best and toughest of them and will let us know when she’s not happy we don’t allow her to do something she’s convinced she’s perfectly capable of doing by herself.  Like jump off the dining room table.  Although, really, she has a perfect landing so I should probably encourage more jumping off furniture.  And cars.  And trees.  And whatever else is high and guaranteed to cause heart palpitations. 

Wait.  What was I saying?

So she’s better.  Ish.  She’s slightly more reasonable and much more able to communicate effectively, which I believe is the reason she’s more reasonable. 

She doesn’t spend all of her time trying to get her brother’s attention by spitting in his face or kicking him in the head, which, for some reason, he doesn’t seem to like.  But as that behavior has lessened, so have the sibling disagreements.  And, of course, by ‘disagreements’ I mean yelling and hitting and screaming and spitting and knock-down-drag-out fights that end with crying and tattling and bruises.

This past weekend we visited friends who have boys around the same age as our kids.  Normally when we get together my husband and I spend the entire time keeping our daughter from knocking one of the boys on the head with a light saber or kicking them because they aren’t paying attention to her.  But this time it was just so much easier.  I mean, yes, there still was an incident or two, but nothing like it’s been in the past.

It’s like – we were finally able to relax a bit.  I was able to visit at a get-together instead of keeping one ear tuned toward the kids listening for the inevitable tattling on how my girl threw a toy at one of the other kids and made him cry.  Also I didn’t have to apologize to the other parents as much so that was a treat, too.

But the thing is, I don’t want her to lose all of that toughness, all that wildness.  It’s who she is and what makes her an amazing little person.  I just want her to harness it and focus it on something a bit more worthwhile and a bit less physically harmful. 

This girl is going to do amazing things.  She’s a handful, but fearless.  She is determined and tough and keeps right up with her brother.

I know her behavior is not an indication of how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ she is.  She’s just a little kid frustrated with not being taken seriously.  I get it.  I’m still frustrated when I’m not taken seriously.  But luckily I’ve learned that hitting someone in the nose with a plastic sword is not the best way to change things, no matter how satisfying it might be at the time.  And I think she’s learning it, too.  Finally.  She’s realizing that maybe it’s a little easier and much more fun to play with other kids as opposed toagainst them.  And maybe she doesn’t have to always be the center of attention.

Now if only we could stop her from jumping off tables.  Or at least enroll her in gymnastics.

This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on June 25, 2014.

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