When I wrote 4 Things I’ve Learned from My Daughter, I didn’t realize the post was already written and safely tucked away in my Evernote notebook. Some points here are ones that didn’t show up in the first piece and others may echo what’s already been said. Either case, no word is wasted here so I’m sending this post out into the world and maybe you can pull something from it that the original didn’t deliver.
During my second pregnancy, I found out I was having a girl. I can’t really explain what kind of fear this brought up for me.
Thoughts kept cycling around, “if I’m not confident in MYself, how can I teach her to love her own body?” Then, “what if something happens?” Also, “I can’t relate to most women, how will I be able to relate to my daughter?”
You get the idea.
While it’s not as scary as I thought, I suspect the scary part has yet to come. I mean as of this writing, she is only four and teenage years are not too far away. I am certain we will have bumpy patches and even more positive there will be learning curves and delicious laughter. For now, here are some things my daughter has taught me thus far…
See others for who they really are – not what you expect them to be.
If I had to sum her up in a sentence, I’d tell you she was a sensitive, free-spirited butterfly that is easy-going and just rolls with the punches. And for the most part that’s true. She is very easy-going and free-spirited. However, there are moments when she clearly has an opinion about what’s happening.
Because she’s so “go with the flow” I’m always surprised when she shows resistance to something new or shows she doesn’t feel comfortable. It always catches me off guard because where my son has trouble with change, she usually does not. So I expect her to behave in a certain way and when that doesn’t happen I realize there are things I might not know about her yet.
Sometimes it’s OK to hide out until you’re ready.
Like I said, it’s not often she shows resistance to newness and change. Every first day of school has been a breeze and an exciting event. Ditto with birthday parties in locations she’s never been with people she doesn’t know. Easy breezy. But her first dance class left a lot to be desired. She was nervous and even though she had been there prior and was comfortable in the location, she clung to me and cried.
I wasn’t able to figure out if it was nerves, fear, or the worry about doing well but I allowed her to sit with me and observe. Her next class we prepared by talking about how she could just watch – but I was not going to be in the room this time. She sat with this the whole day and her resistance was greatly reduced. When that class was over she told me about how next class would be different and she was going to do the whole thing. And you know what? She did.
She has taught me to be more sensitive.
I’m generally not a “suck it up” type mom but I have no tolerance for whining and carrying on needlessly. In recent months, she’s expressed her opinions with quite a bit of whining. It took a little bit of looking deep to realize exactly what was going on. It occurred to me that she had a valid point of view. We explained that it was OK to express her feelings but we’d rather with words than whining.
Whining was her go to for communication because she couldn’t describe something that was be above her vocabulary and/or understanding. She just knew something was off and needed to express that. Being sensitive to that and really listening beyond the whining was actually what got us passed that phase.
Don’t take things too seriously and learn to relax.
Oh man, I cannot even tell you how fun she is. We play house in the woods. We throw rocks in the water. We paint in splattered aprons. We take the long way to where we are going. We have even been known to go alligator hunting in a fuzzy coat and glitter shoes. (Her idea.) My daughter has opened the door to a world that I didn’t realize I had closed off.
Nothing is off-limits. She doesn’t realize it, but she is bringing me back to the person I use to be – and thought I’d lost.