Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Age of Innocence

A majority of the parenting decisions I make are based off how I was raised. It's my first line of defense and utmost point of reference ... what would my parents do? I have zero complaints of my childhood. Sure, I didn't have cable or even a microwave. I had to do chores. I never went to Disney World. I had to be in choir in order to play sports. I had dinner every single night of the week at the table with my parents and brother. I wrote thank you's, I was told NO a lot, I earned every pair of Nikes and Abercrombie jeans I owned.

And, I had to be nine years old to get my ears pierced. It's what my Mom said. And when I incessantly whined about the injustice of her math, she told me she had to be 13- that was her Mama's rule.

So when my daughter started inquiring as to when she could get her ears pierced a few years ago (yes, she was barely two; using little adhesive gemstones to her ears as jewelry) I told her she had to be much older. Probably nine. She didn't even know what that meant. The Dad overheard this and scoffed at my rule and assumed when his baby girl was good and ready, he'd take her to the Piercing Pagoda to get her first piercings done.

Well, his baby girl was good and ready yesterday. At the tender age of four point five.

It doesn't surprise me, her perseverance to want real earrings. She wears gaudy, painful plastic clip-ons most days of the week along with her standard headband, necklace, anklet, and bracelets. And hats and sunglasses and tiny purses filled with spare accessories for costume changes at whim. And the LAUNDRY I do to keep her in three, ruffly, flouncy, glittery, blingy outfits a day ... I am raising a girl.

So while my Grandma started the trend of reaching a certain age to experience ear piercing as a rite of passage, it was the next generation who broke the rules. That's part of parenting, knowing where you came from, appreciating the tradition, and upholding rule. And then breaking it.

I whispered to my now much bigger girl yesterday, "in 14 years you can pierce your nose!" And she looked at me like I was crazy. I'm sure her grandma and great-grandma would agree.

That's the best part of parenting, after all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guess What

Everyone and their mom want to know where summer is going. Too damn fast, per usual. And we're literally trying to soak it in- the photo pretty much depicts life at Casa de Lil' Dude- swimming & sweetness.

Swimming. It's no surprise it's all the tiny Olympian wants to do, day in and day out. And, a few weeks ago she abandoned the lifejacket for good. Which means Mama's long, luxurious days of floating by on tubes and noodles or sunning on the chaise with a fresh stack of mags are over. Just like taking the baby gate down, or transitioning from a crib to a bed ... another milestone, another stride in life I am not ready to make but am making nonetheless.

My daughter is fearless. We spent the weekend at a campground that featured not one but two waterslides. She burned 60,000 calories being catapulted into the 5' water, getting tossed toward the shallow end, and paddling for the stairs over and over and over again. As I lotioned her up last night post-bath, I marveled at her tanlines on her thighs ... how her lower half isn't usually exposed to sun as she bobs around in the water all day. Well, for four straight days she was on the deck, running up the slide stairs, and waiting her turn in the sunshine. It makes sense.

She was nearly the youngest of the kids she ran with all weekend; she kept up with a pair of insanely adorable and sweet 6-year-old boys, and patient and adoring 8 and 9-year old girls. The girls were her safety nets, who gave Mama a break from catching her at the end of slides and pushing her hair out of her eyes. But it was the boys ... no surprise here ... she wanted to be just like.

Saturday evening, the pool is at max capacity, all the parents are gathered around and the boys start doing tricks off the edge of the pool and garnering attention and all sorts of oohs and aahs. The lil' dude watches from her tippy toes in the pool for a few turns, then heads for the deck. She walks out to where the boys are about to take their approaches and says boldly and loudly, Guess what? I'm gonna rock your faces off! and off she goes, full-speed for the edge where she attempts a summersault mid-air into the pool.

And fails, miserably. She kinda folded into a canonball and landed on her face.
But, she surfaced, smiling that little shit grin she gets from her Daddy, to uproar and high-fives.
Oh, yes she did. I wasn't a bit surprised by my daughter or her actions.

I knew the minute the doctor laid my naked, brand-new baby girl on my chest that I had one helluva job to do, in raising a girl. Overcoming insecurity and comparison, encouraging independence and calming irrational fears. Teaching her she doesn't have to impress anyone but herself by being anyone but herself.

Except maybe a poolside of tanned boys in bright blue goggles.

Word {from} Your Mama