I have found that one of the most challenging parts of parenthood is resisting the urge to change who my child is at the core. Who she is as a person. Not force my ideals onto her or dumb her down by following up whatever she says or does with my own opinions. More often than not, Huddy is right and I am wrong. I can accept that. She is the first to tell me.
I told you it wasn’t cold outside.
I told you it was in my room.
I told you that outfit looks not beautiful.
We recently attended the birthday party of a little friend of hers who turned five years old. Granted, he is a boy so there is the lack of fear that follows. Of course, there are a lot of fearless girls out there. I know this. (I used to have one of those children. She wouldn’t put her bare feet down in grass for the first two years of her life, but she would stand at the top of a flight of stairs and jump down like a flying squirrel on the off-chance that you were prepared to catch her.) Huddy was transfixed when her friend stepped into the wind tunnel booth where the tickets and play money fly around and you have to catch as much as possible before the air turns off. She would never do that. She couldn’t even watch without holding my hand.
We went to play Skee-Ball. She loves to play it on my iPod Touch. I told her about the tickets and how the better you do at the game the more tickets you get and then you can buy prizes with them. I threw a few balls and then let her try. Of course hers didn’t go far enough. I helped her swing her arm back and she allowed that to happen twice. (I fear if she thinks she won’t be great at something, she won’t do it.) I began to throw the rest of the balls and looked down to see tears streaming down her face. I knelt down and asked what was wrong. She said, “IT’S TOO MUCH!” She was completely overwhelmed by the noise and lights and other children. I knew she would be. I tried to play it off, but she was a no-go.
An hour later (it always takes her an hour to warm up to things, which sucks because most fun things only last an hour), she was ready to play. She wasn’t thrilled with our measly 18 tickets and the one prize she could purchase. She wanted more. She played games with me. She wanted to “shoot the hoop” and did she ever. She made 11 of 15 shots. She was having a blast! And it was time to go. Figures. But she didn’t complain. She grabbed her coat, hugged her friend and his mommy goodbye and we left.
On the way out to the car, she said, “Mom, you thought I was going to miss out on all the fun but I didn’t.” My heart died a little. That is what I always say to her when she won’t let me put her down if we’re somewhere new, or if she’s refusing to jump into the ball pit/play next to other kids she doesn’t know on a playground/run in a pumpkin patch/take a dance class/take gymnastics without holding my hand the entire time, etc. I didn’t say it to her that night, but clearly she was expecting it.
But why am I forcing her to have fun? Fun should be…fun. And she would rather I participate in the fun with her. So, yes. She does want to hold my hand walking from heretohere. One day, I will miss her needing me so much. She has been this way since birth. I don’t know why I am always so surprised. I am proud of her and her refusal to do things she is not comfortable with. No one will ever get her to do something she doesn’t want to do. Including me.