Have you found yourself apologizing for the way your child behaved or dressed? I noticed I was the case with my youngest.
“Sorry she’s dressed like this.”
“I know, her voice is super squeaky. Sorry.”
“I would get her to sit still, but I can’t. Sorry.”
“Can you fix her hair again? She cut it.”
I think around age three she broke me. We were headed to preschool drop-off and she was wearing a Christmas dress, dressy white coat, sparkle boots, and flower leggings. Somehow during the morning routine I forgot to “check” her outfit. My face of shock did not match her face of joy! “I’m fancy, Mommy!” Her little squeaky voice was bold in her declaration!
How could I ever, ever again second guess her outward appearance?
Clearly, I was the one with issues. What was I afraid of? I might not dress the way she does, create art with other people’s trash, or dance everywhere I walk, but I once was the same little girl she is. A strong willed, always called “bossy girl” for wanting my voice to be heard and my words to matter.
That was five years ago and a lot has been learned since then. My unique, rainbow cutie is perfect. I always knew it, but I wanted to avoid her getting made fun of. My fear was that she would grow up too different or too much. What stinking thinking I had about my kid! I had two kids prior that “blended in” naturally. This was new territory.
Here are some quick tips if you find yourself gasping and correcting more than accepting your unique child:
1. Watch and follow their lead. I am currently typing this as I’m watching my girl climb a tree with yellow ribbon. She is determined to make a jungle gym for the squirrels.
2. Compliment more than their looks. Build up their character outside of appearance. Different character traits are what makes us all interesting!
3. Compliment their outward appearance. Not to be contradictory, but my girl puts a lot of time into her outfits. Especially when she has something in mind, but her wardrobe doesn’t match. Can you believe now I let her cut clothes up to design new things? Better believe I’m telling her how awesome and creative she is.
4. If they “ruin” something, take a deep breath and listen to their intention. Latest example from my girl is her saying “Mommy, did you get my note?” I looked on my desk and counter, but I didn’t see a note. She pulled back my bedroom door and there was a love note scribbled out behind! Her intention was to give a lasting message to her Mommy.
5. Accept their friends and invite them in. Another mom told me years ago that by me “allowing” my girl to be herself gave her freedom too. The other quirky kids have become my girl’s best of friends. One even brought her a blow up fish as a gift today.
She didn’t and won’t grow out of this stage as long as I have anything to do with it. To the moms who are already getting this right, thank you. I’ve been watching and learning. To the moms that feel a little conflicted for making your kid change out of two different shoes, today is a new day! Take lots of pictures and throw out your expectations.