Call Me Ang: Accept Who They Are....

Accept Who They Are....

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I know who I am...Chances are, you know who you are too.  However, when it comes to our kids, do you really know who they are? Or maybe the better question is, do you let them be who they are....

Today our youngest daughter turned eight.  When she was a baby, she was very withdrawn. She wasn't your average happy baby.  She gave you blank stares.  She would look through you, rather than at you.  Nonetheless, she was an easy baby (unlike our oldest daughter who cried round the clock).  Olivia didn't seem to need us.  She was content to sit on her own, playing with whatever we put in front of her.  I was grateful for a baby that wasn't difficult, but there was a void that concerned me.  Our first daughter, Emma, set the precedent. She was high maintenance, she demanded our attention - constantly. However, she was a happy child.  She also showed an abundance of affection. Olivia did not.

As Olivia grew, her personality started to shine through. She still wasn't affectionate, but she had her own way of showing love. This child was quirky. Downright neurotic. She was obsessive compulsive and scrupulous with any task she performed. I had a difficult time adapting to her idiosyncrasies.  My husband did a better job at dealing with Olivia's complexity.

One day I dropped Olivia off at preschool. I took her out of her car seat, and sat her down on the sidewalk.  True to her nature, she tore out running. To this day, the child doesn't walk anywhere.  I saw the writing on the wall...Within seconds, she hit a crack in the concrete and fell flat on her face. The fall itself didn't cause her to cry, it was the interruption to her routine. Olivia immediately demanded I take her back to the car, and strap her back into her car seat.  I did what she requested, knowing that if I didn't give into her demands, she would fight me for hours.  We reenacted as though we had just pulled up to the school. Then, she unbuckled herself and I helped her out of the car.  She tore out running toward her class again. Thankfully, she missed the crack in the concrete and the rest of the day was uneventful. This occurrence was indicative of our child.  Routine and ritual were king, and don't dare veer from the norm.

My easy baby, was now a demanding preschooler with more quirks and eccentric characteristics than I care to recall.  Initially I didn't understand Olivia. I even questioned whether she could be autistic. I questioned whether she was capable of having relationships. I questioned if I could ever relate to her. This internal conflict was heartbreaking.

Thankfully, with each passing year, my concerns have been eased. Olivia knows exactly who she is. Her actions are truly telling of the young person she is becoming.  This is a girl who would, "rather die, than wear a dress" (her words...and then she makes sure to clarify that this is JUST a figure of speech). She doesn't like to be restricted or confined (which is contrary to when she was a baby and loved to be swaddled). She wants her clothing loose. She only wants to wear, in her words, "soft pants".  She would just assume wear a souvenir tee shirt from the zoo, or her favorite Minecraft tee (complete with a hole).  Don't even think for one second you are putting a bow in this child's hair.  She demands that her hair remain long, but insists that it's neatly pulled into a ponytail daily.

Olivia doesn't like "girly" things.  She loves Legos and Pokemon.  The majority of Olivia's friends are boys. Last year she had a laser tag party with a creeper cake (google it). She has a few girl friends, whom she adores and cherishes, but their interests are different than Olivia's. Still, she makes those friendships work, finding a common ground like playing zoo or riding scooters in the neighborhood.

I truly worried about Olivia's social adaption.  I wondered if other kids would find her odd or strange at school.  I wondered if the girls would accept her. I was concerned that she would sit alone at lunch. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

When we would be in the halls of her school, Olivia's classmates would go out of their way to say hello.  When we were outside of school, kids would run up to her and want to play. They loved this child of ours. They loved her personality.

I realized that my fears were because I thought my child was odd. She wasn't a conformist. She liked to dress like a tomboy. She liked boy television shows. I wanted Olivia to be something she wasn't. I wanted her to be girly. I wanted her to wear all of her sister's hand me down dresses. I wanted to adorn her hair with all our frilly bows. She was having none of it!

Olivia is a girl who knows what she wants. Love her or leave her, she is going to stay true to who she is. She is so wise at the young age of eight.  She makes zero apologies for who she is. Olivia is so confident. She's unique and quite frankly amazing.  People gravitate to her, because she doesn't care if you like her or not. Who wouldn't admire a person like that?  I know I do. I admire my daughter.

Did I mention she's also a lefty? She's also the only member in our family to be born on a different day.  All of our birthdays fall on the 24th. Olivia's falls on the 19th. All signs point to different. She's a horse of a different color. A true original.

The more we grew to accept Olivia for who she was, the more loving of a child she became. Olivia's heart is so big.  She loves to hold our hands. She loves to snuggle. She tells us multiple times daily, how much she loves her family.  She constantly proclaims that we are the best, "Mom and Dad ever!" That withdrawn baby with a blank stare, has turned into a massive ball of love.

Letting your child be who they are meant to become is tough.  As parents, our children are an extension of us. Naturally, we worry about how society will receive our kids.  Trust me when I say, that when you throw those concerns to the wind, your child will fly. They will become so much more than you ever conceived. They become a far greater version of what you could have ever imagined. Step back, let them show you who they are...not what you expect them to be. It's only then, that your child will truly flourish.

TTFN,

8 comments:

  1. What a great post, and your daughter sounds awesome!

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    1. Thank you!! She definitely keeps things interesting around here and I wouldn't have it any other way!!!

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  2. On the money! Olivia sounds like an awesome kid.

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    1. She's truly awesome and I'm so lucky to call her my daughter!

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  3. I love this post so very much. Olivia sounds like such a sweet child.

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    1. She really is and I'm lucky to be her mom! :)

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  4. I love this post. Olivia is lucky to have you as her mom! <3

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    1. Thank you!! She's wonderful and keeps up laughing (with her) every single day!

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