Recently one of my girls proudly showed me her painted picture of the American flag- with her 3 yo artistic vision she had chosen several different colors to represent our stars and stripes. I oohed and aahed and encouraged her to hang it up on the refrigerator, however when her very literal, sees-everything-in-black-and-white older sister saw the picture she couldn’t help but point out that the colors of the American flag are only red, white, and blue. *sigh* I cringe inside every time my 4.5 yo, in all her wisdom, takes it upon herself to correct her younger sister’s adorable mispronunciation of something or cute brown and yellow scribble of the earth. I know she means well but I’ve been trying to convey to her that it’s okay to let her sister be herself. She’s learning; just let her be little.
This is something I struggle with every day: constantly being reminded that I’m raising girls with very different personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. Of course they’re still so young but already I see areas that need my attention- areas that need something more specific than a one-size-fits-all, generalized parenting approach. I’m attempting to figure out how best to love each of them and help cultivate the gifts they’ve been given but, oh, easier said than done!
One of my girls is very sensitive and imaginative. Another appreciates when everything is just as it should be. One owns her outfits accessorized with sunglasses, rain boots, and a haphazardly placed headband, the other owns her painstakingly constructed Lego tower. One is always eager to help out and learn a new task, another seems to soak up learning in her environment but struggles with FOCUSING ON THE TASK AT HAND. And the youngest…is just an explosion of personality. I’m always trying to be mindful not to compare them; to acknowledge their differences and love each one as a separate individual.
So much needed balance, so little room for parenting missteps, it seems. I just want to do right by them and encourage each one to be fully herself- fully the person God created her to be. So there it is- the challenge day in and day out.
And in a similar vein this recent development has given me (another) challenging parenting lesson in letting go of control: Evie was looking forward to making Valentine’s for her class and I was more than eager to get the supplies together for her to make them. I tried to keep it as simple and cheap as possible, so I picked up some card stock to cut out the base hearts, foam stick-on hearts, cute and inexpensive Valentine stamps and a gold stamp pad, and I punched out hearts from the floral section of the Land’s End catalog with my trusty scrapbook heart-punch (I felt all- look at me! Reuse!).
But when Evie sat down to start Valentine-ing did she want to use the fun little stamps? No. Did she want to glue cute floral hearts? No. Did she at least want me to write “Happy Valentine’s Day” on them? NO.
“Just the stickers.”
*Cue all the bubbles bursting on my end.*
I guess I was very much in need of a reminder that she is not me. She is herself with her own unique vision and preferences and that is perfectly fine.
Even if I do think the stamps would be adorable on her cards. ;)