As we planned for the upcoming birth of our first child, my husband and I openly discussed everything first-time parents think about – you know, if we’ll have to wait the full 6 weeks to have sex again, if my nipples would ever not resemble large brown sunflowers, and how badly God was going to punish us for not going to church all these weeks with a crazy, lunatic devil child.
You know, the child that has every single one of your most unlovable qualities.
Most of the folks we talked with thought we were in for it. Considering both my husband and I have reasonably overbearing type-A personalities, as well as a penchant for being stubborn and bull-headed, we figured this kid was going to be a pure and utter joy… for the Swiss nanny we planned on hiring to raise her.
I mean, we all have our faults. My husband has an awful case of wife-diagnosed ADHD, and can hardly sit still for an entire commercial. I am constantly doing something or really tons of somethings, all while talking or singing loudly and dancing some weird African – ballet dance combination. It’s really quite lovely.
So combine those genes and we figured our child would be bouncing off the walls like a racquetball on crack.
But when she arrived, she barely made a peep. She just stared up at me with these huge eyes and a serious look that said “what took you so long to get me out of there?”
Since then we’ve been blessed with a cautious and very serious child, who enjoys reading, coloring, and playing alone. She has a kind, sweet temperament that anyone who meets her comments on. She says please and thank-you for everything, and will even say “you’re welcome” if you forget. She’s incredibly curious and loves watching and exploring and learning. And she has the most nurturing, loving, and gentle spirit I have ever seen.
And while she has her moments (more frequently when tired or teething) and loathes anything that has to do with sleeping more than a few hours in a row, she is amazing.
But on most days, I try to figure out where the hell she came from and what I’m supposed to do with her.
I think one of the greatest challenges of parenting is allowing your child to be who they are – and not who you want them to be, or worse, YOU. I struggle daily with allowing her be quiet, subdued, and “shy” (as people like to call her), and not thinking she’s sick, ill, or disinterested when she just sits alone, reads her books, and barely makes a peep. Because I’ve never been (or done) any of those things, and I’m pretty sure I probably couldn’t even if someone paid me large sums of money.
On some days, I know I go overboard – asking her a thousand questions, singing songs to make her laugh, and performing a ridiculous horse and pony show just to get some type of animated response from her.
But after the show is over, and my mild chuckle and smile are achieved, I remind myself that she is not me. And that’s okay.
I’m still trying to understand our differences, and how I can allow her to flourish as her own person. I just hope she knows how much I love who she is, who she will become, and that her mother is not a flaming lunatic.
Oh well, I guess 2 out of 3 isn't bad...