My third child, & second daughter, now six years old, arrived on the scene 3 years after my oldest daughter, & two days after my son’s 5th birthday. She & my son became my Gemini Twins, & have some amazing similarities, along with a different kind of bond then what they share with their other siblings, including the fact that she is the only one who will hole up for hours playing X-Box with him! This child also had the benefit of my now “vast” parenting experience, & was given more freedoms & less babying than the first two. It was quickly apparent that it wouldn’t have mattered, she would never have stood for it had I tried! A very happy, & fiercely independent little thing from the start, she has simply never needed me the way my other children did. Always two steps ahead, always ready & eager to try anything, our second princess has never known the meaning of the word fear…or the word NO! This is the child that I really have to choose my battles carefully with, she knows her mind & will fight tooth & nail to have her way, to such an extent that from 2 to 4 years old, she would ACTUALLY hold her breath until she passed out! As frightening as that first episode was, to have your 2 year old drop, limp & unconscious in your arms, I soon found out that Dad used to do the same as a toddler, & was advised by my mother-in-law to dunk her head under cold water & she’d come around! She has been making her own decisions from the earliest age, & I have learned to only go up against her if her personal health or safety is at risk. Which it has been at times, with that decisive & determined nature of hers.
The Great Escape!
At the age of 4, she wandered out of the cottage at 7am, barefoot in her pajamas, with everyone soundly sleeping, & was found (THANK GOD!), walking at the edge of the water by a neighbour out with their dog. They knew who she was, & upon asking her what she was doing & why she was out alone, she had responded that she was looking for Mommy, and apparently wasn’t the least bit upset or scared. The neighbour returned her to the cottage, but had only slipped her back in the door & left as we all continued to sleep. It was not until hours later that we heard the story, & I was physically sick at the thought of what might’ve happened. Oddly, all 3 of my girls have had sleepwalking & night terror episodes around this age, so I was never certain if that had been the cause of her little escapade. Needless to say, we began setting the alarm at night after that!
Olympic Swimmer In The Making?
By the age of 4, remembering that her birthday is in June, so JUST turned 4,this fearless child of mine had decided she was perfectly capable of swimming on her own…& by that I mean, with neither adult supervision, OR a floatation device of any sort. More than once, we’d be at the water, turn our heads, & turn back to find her “swimming” away on her accord. A few times, we’d be in the playground, within sight of the water, count heads, realize she was missing, & have to make a mad dash because once again, she was in the water! By the end of that first week of July, we realized she needed a hand on her at all times, or she‘d be in that water in a split second! She would even make us jump off the high board with her, insisting that if she had her floaty on, we had to let her! To her credit, it’s usually enough for her to just decide she IS going to do something, then jump in with both feet…pun intended this time!…& simply do it! It never occurs to her that she can’t! Though obviously, there are times that reality says otherwise. A fair enough swimmer at Dad’s cottage, where she can touch bottom in most areas, we then had her at my family cottage in Algonquin, where she absolutely cannot touch bottom in the lake! Again, barely 5 years old at the time, she decided to “swim”, & took off her floatation device, something we hadn‘t expected since we assumed she’d be afraid of the much larger, very deep lake…when the sudden shouts came & I realized she was under, I admit it…I froze, sick with fear & dread. I never imagined that would happen to me. I’d been through traumatic events with my children before, & always reacted quickly. But this was different, & I didn’t want to know, couldn’t bear to hear it…so I shut down. The rest is a blur, but I will always & forever be indebted to my amazingly strong & incredible niece, who saved my daughter’s life that day when she jumped in after her, & putting herself at risk, got underneath her & shoved her above the surface, while she struggled under the water to hold my baby out. And my sister, God bless her, had also reacted, as quickly as I froze up, & was in the water instantly to help. You just couldn’t turn your back on this little girl, there was no telling what she’d try next!!
Look Ma, No Hands!
Given her devil may care attitude, she also decided by 2 or 3 years old, that her favourite place to be was upside down & swinging from the chandeliers! She was a climber, the first one in my house. This led to her tossing herself around every which way, just because she wanted to. Never once crossed her mind that she couldn’t…or shouldn’t! At 3 years old, she was throwing perfect cartwheels, landing in perfect splits. I’d find her doing flips off the monkey bars, so high up that even her older siblings wouldn’t have tried something so crazy, while I hovered under her ready to catch her, hollering to stop going so high! When she broke her leg at just 3 years old, (surprisingly NOT from a fall or similar such injury but from an undiagnosed medical issue, though that’s a story for another day), that child didn’t slow down for a second, spending the next month barrelling around in that full leg cast, swinging it out in a big loop as she went, constantly entertaining us with the comic nature of her new gait.
Shhhh, I’m Watching Twilight…AGAIN!!!
My 3rd child is the oddest combination of a tomboy & a girlie girl. Amongst the constant rough & tumble, full speed ahead behaviour, is the attitude & fashion sense of a total DIVA! She cares DEEPLY how she looks & what she wears, every second of every day. I don’t believe I have ever chosen her clothes…nor am I allowed to particularly! As a toddler, she changed outfits numerous times throughout the day, but the real battles began when she started school. I need to clarify here, that she was BORN a 16 year old teenaged girl, with the attitude to go with it. She has never been “little”. Her favourite music, TV shows, & movies have always been from the mainstream media….currently it’s anything Twilight! My attempts to pass down her sister’s Dora outfits were met with complete disdain. Everything about her, other than the fact that she’s a 6 year old child, screams “older”…the way she moves, the way she talks, the way she dresses, her likes & dislikes, even tending to make friends with older girls. Thus, the arguments over what was “appropriate” for school…despite allowing her to make her own choices when it just wasn’t worth fighting over, I’ve always been a bit of a stickler when it comes to school. They must be neat & tidy, wearing both age & weather appropriate outfits. I’m all for her “rockin’” it, she does it so well after all, & am happy enough to concede to her fashion sense…within limits. She tends to favour short skirts & little tank tops. Yes, I did say she is six! A very cheeky six! And TRUST ME, despite her love of pop culture, the only music videos she ever sees are on Family Channel, so no, I do not allow her to be influenced by such stars as Brittany Spears or Lady GaGa. She may know the music, but certainly not the image! Eventually I figured out that if I gave her a choice between 2 or 3 outfits I deemed reasonable for school, she could usually agree on at least one of them. But it didn’t end there. Now in Grade 1, I’ve had a 3 year long battle that has yet to find an amicable resolution…the outfit is chosen, always the night before given the long process involved, both of us are happy, now it’s time to head out the door…& this one is throwing a fit every single day over coats & other outdoor wear because… a) it simply doesn’t MATCH her outfit, & b) it COVERS her outfit!!! These last few weeks have been especially draining, in the power struggle over snow pants. And already she is pulling the teenage trick of changing the second she is out of my sight. She comes in the door at lunch minus mitts, snow pants, etc., having left it all in her bag at school. She has NEVER worn a hat, (MY HAIR, MOM!), & also manages to ditch her glasses whenever possible. Unlike her sister, she does not rely on hers to see the world around her, so she can get away without wearing them…& she does, every chance she gets! I may have given up the fight long ago, but for one simple reason…SHE’S SIX!!! And at six years old, the school, her teachers, other parents, are horrified & dismayed to see such a young child not dressed for -20 weather! And I AGREE! Especially when the finger is pointed directly at ME when they are this age! And it IS my job as her mother to protect her & care for her, her outfit & vanity be damned! So we fight…every day!! Recently, I have tried a new tactic…she is absolutely required to have these items with her at all times in the winter, coat, snow pants, hat, mitts, etc., & as long as her coat is on her & zipped up, the rest is up to her discretion, knowing that if she does get cold enough or a teacher makes a fuss, she has it to wear. This was better than her just ditching it & not having it at all if she needed it. And don’t even get me started on footwear! She’s spent half the winter running around in high cut, wedge heel, black patent leather boots….you go girlfriend! Honestly, I have nightmares about when this one actually IS 16 years old! Sigh…
She’s Cheer Captain & I’m On The Bleachers…As Her Biggest Fan!
We recently found the perfect place for this Diva of ours…competitive cheerleading! She was such a fantastic little tumbler, but I knew her attitude would never conform to the discipline of gymnastics. So, the month she turned 5, I found a local cheer gym & she tried out for their competitive All-Star team…she began cheerleading in September, 2008, & she has never looked back! This child LIVES to compete, & has been a flyer since she began with the team…the “no fear” thing serves her well there! As a matter of fact, as difficult as it can, & will be, at times to raise such a strong, independent personality, this is the child I worry about the least. Also, still the child that seems to need me the least, which I sometimes hate, & wish I could just hold on to my baby Button a little tighter, for just a little longer. But I have no doubt that she will take the world by storm one day. Nothing will ever stop her from what getting what she wants, she‘s smart as a whip & she listens to no one but herself. She has already determined that she will never marry or have kids…instead, she will travel the world, &, according to her, she WILL be rich! I believe her!
And on the heels of all of that, I must point out that she is the most delightful, fun loving, coolest little chickie I know! She stands out in a crowd, & lives life to the fullest, always tough but loveable, strong, yet sweet! As with all my children, she is a precious gift, who has taught me to never let fear stand in your way, to seize life & make it yours. In my efforts to ensure it wasn’t me to teach my brave, wild child the meaning of fear, I have even faced some of my own! I love her with all my heart, & I admire & respect who she is. Despite the battles we have, I do think most of her tantrums can still be chalked up to her age…they are short lived, & she is usually open to discussing possible compromises when I question her decisions. To be honest, I try not to question her very much….I don’t want to be the one to stand her way! I’ve learned by now to let my kids go, be who they need to be…but I WILL always be there, surreptitiously watching over her….just in case she decides to defy the laws of gravity next!
No related posts.