My daughter came into this world without reading a single baby book. I, on the other hand, read stacks and stacks of them. I had a plan for everything: her birth, sleeping, breastfeeding, intellectual stimulation, and the list goes on. My first clue that she would do everything in her own way was during her birth. She took her time getting here! It took an extra week and a half and 15 hours of labor, before she would allow herself to be evicted from my womb.
Forget marching to her own drum, my daughter dances to her own orchestra!
While other babies typically roll from their tummies to their backs, she refused tummy time and instead rolled from her back to her tummy. At 2 years old she watched her friends walking clockwise around something and chose to be the only one walking counterclockwise. When she was 3 years old she began picking out her own outfits. Her outfit of choice was solid hot pink. Her theory? Butterflies would land on her because she looked like a flower. At 4 years old she decided she was a dog and would only answer me in ‘dog-talk.’ I’m not sure what this year will bring, but she definitely keeps me guessing.
I constantly feel as if I’m walking a tightrope. Her individuality is something I always want to encourage. However, there are definitely moments when I would love for her to stop barking and just play house with the other kids. I see the looks from the other moms when we show up at school and she’s wearing a flowered dress, leopard print leggings, and a purple jacket with pink hearts. The mama bear in me tends to rear its head when I see the looks, and I definitely don’t want her to see those looks.
Some days I chant, ‘let it go, let it goooo’ inside my head…
It has taken me quite awhile to realize it, but in the end she has already fallen in with my most important plan for her. When I found out I was pregnant with a girl I promised myself I would raise a strong, confident girl unafraid of being her own person. I know I am the one who is supposed to be teaching her, but the truth is she teaches me so much about myself. I have definitely been forced to grow as a person since becoming her mom. She challenges me every day to keep up.
Talk about thinking on your feet! The questions this kid comes up with! She loves hitting me with them when I’m merging onto 75 at University with all of that crazy constructions traffic. First thing in the morning, before I’ve had an ounce of caffeine, is also a challenge. But her personal favorite time for questions? It’s right when I think she’s fallen asleep and I’m doing the mom-ninja move sneaking out of her bedroom.
Google is definitely my best friend when she asks me questions like, “Do platypuses live in Florida?” But most of the time she asks the most existential questions when I’m the least prepared. Stuff like, “Does God sleep?” “Why did God create sharks?” Or the latest one, “I know babies are in mommies’ tummies, but where exactly do they come out from?” Oh who am I kidding? Answering most of these would be tricky regardless of my caffeine level or traffic status!
Leading by example is HARD!
I think the biggest lesson my daughter has taught me is that I need to heed the advice I seem to give daily to her. When I tell her, “It doesn’t matter what so and so thinks, what do YOU think?” Here’s my challenge to those moms who see other little girls “doing their own thing,” dancing instead of walking, barking instead of talking, or rocking mismatched clothes. Drop your judgments. Please recognize that we’re all on the same team. We all want to raise our daughters to be strong and confident. Some of our girls are just dancing ahead of the curve.