So there’s this boy in my daughter’s preschool class. His older brother just happens to be in the same Boy Scout den as my son. It wasn’t too much of a surprise when the boy and my daughter became best buddies. They see each other all the time plus they get along, no big deal. But then about two months ago my daughter starting calling him her “boyfriend.” Now this didn’t really bother me at first, in fact it came across as cute. I shrugged it off. But it continued.
The two have since become inseparable at school and at Boy Scout functions. They hold hands and walking around together and stuff. And now in the last week she has declared that she is in love with him, as he is with her, and that they are going to get married.
I’m active in the class, know the family and know that there is nothing to really be concerned about. But I can’t help but be a little taken aback. I mean, she’s five!
I don’t want her to be establishing quite so much emphasis on marriage at five. I don’t want her to automatically think she has to get married when she grows up. Right? I also want her to be able to establish friendships with boys that don’t revolve around labels like boyfriend or girlfriend.
I know that in another two months the school year will be over and they’ll be going to Kindergarten at different schools. A part of me is relieved but another part of me feels bad because she knows they won’t be together next year.
I guess it’s no big deal. And I guess it’s just another one of those things that us moms supposed to just let roll of our backs.
But let me just say, for the record, that if I ever get around to writing a book about parenting this is so getting it’s own chapter.
This is an original post to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.
I knew that it was a girl the moment I took a home pregnancy test. Every fiber in my being told me so, and when I finally got the phone call with the results of our amniocentesis I was not at all surprised when our genetic counselor told me it was a girl. I daydreamed for months about the strong, sassy and independent girl she would be. And now exactly five years later she’s everything I thought she would be and more. She is kind and thoughtful and full of heart. But she is strong-willed; she speaks her mind and doesn’t care much about what other people think.
I think many people; when they have a daughter, worry. Worry because girls are weaker, are not as able to take care of themselves and are more prone to heartbreak. Me? I laugh at the thought. In fact my worry is more for the people in this world who stand in her way, or hurt the people she loves, or try to force to do something she doesn’t want to do.
It’s really hard to express how much she means to me and how totally shocked I am at how fast these last five years have gone by.
When she was first-born, I was terribly concerned with how she was breastfeeding. Mainly because my son would feed for close to 45 minutes on each breast and during the first couple of weeks I had a hard time getting him to latch on correctly and to really get the hang of breastfeeding. It was a lot of work.
But my daughter, she latched on instantly. And her feeding ran about 10-15 minutes, TOTAL. I just knew she must be starving and couldn’t figure out why she was feeding for these short spans of time.
When I took her in for her first exam she had gained over a pound. I asked the lactation consultant how that was possible when she was hardly eating. She laughed. “It’s not that she’s not eating, it’s that she’s eating very efficiently.”
It’s been that way ever since. Every time I think I’m failing, she shows me I’m not.
I can’t believe she’s five today. My baby. Quite possibly my last child. Five. She’s not a baby anymore. There are no diapers, or changing tables, or bottles. No high chairs or cribs. I only have kids now, no babies in this house anymore.
Oh, who am I kidding? She’ll always be my baby. Whether she’s five or fifty.
I swear it was just yesterday that my daughter was born. But in fact it was actually 5 years ago. Well in a few weeks it will be five years exactly. And now this week I registered her for kindergarten. KIN-DER-GARTEN.
How did this happen?
Not that I’m not happy and excited to be moving into this new phase of motherhood. The phase where both kids are in school. I’m happy and excited to see my children growing into such wonderful people and I’m happy and excited to be regaining a little of my own freedom back that I traded in when I brought my firstborn home from the hospital.
But another part of me feels a little sad. I’m not sure that we’ll have a third child. And if we do, it won’t be soon. So sending my youngest off to Kindergarten is a milestone that leaves me a little empty on the inside. Each day they need me just a little less. Each day brings them one more day closer to growing up.
And it scares me. Have I done a good job as a mom so far? Is she going to be ok in school? Is she going to be a bully? How will her Diva ways translate into a public school yard? Will she be a mean girl?
So much of parenting is letting go. But what if I’m not ready to let go? What if I’m not ready to move on to the next phase?
I guess it doesn’t matter. Time stops for no one. Not even moms.
“It’s a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.” ~J.K. Rowling
Most of you on Facebook may have noticed the retro thing going on with people’s profile pictures. Well considering how many dozens photo albums and picture boxes I have stocked full of millions of pictures, I thought it would be fun to pull out some old pictures, scan them and then tag all my old school friends. But instead I ended up spending an entire evening pouring through every single photo album and photo box I own.
I have pictures that of course begin with me as a baby, my childhood, teen years and into the years my husband and I were dating, our wedding and of course there were tons of both pregnancies and the kids all the way through now. My mind is kind of racing full of all the memories. It’s so weird to look back and see how much I’ve grown and changed. And even weirder to see how much the kids have grown and changed. I swear it was just yesterday that they were born. Then again I would’ve sworn that it was only yesterday that I got married or graduated high school…
There were so many pictures that just took me back. Friends and family that have long since passed away, friends that are still in my life today. So many people and so many memories.
Nothing puts your life into a sharper focus then looking back over your life in pictures. It reminds you of where you come from and who you are. It also reminded me of just how fast my babies are growing and that I should take time to slow down and smell the roses with them more often.
My dad took this picture when I was in elementary school. He told me to picture the woman I’d be when I was 30 and to say hi to that woman. And now here I am, 32, looking at that same picture, saying hi back to that girl I once was.
I never did scan any pictures and upload them to Facebook. Maybe tomorrow…
So my daughter can be one tough cookie. Something that never ceases to amaze me about her is how she deals with sadness. You see, when she is mad or frustrated or just plain tired she can cry like a champion. She could probably compete if there was such a thing as championship crying. But when she’s sad about something, she fights crying with everything in her. Like when she really doesn’t want to say goodbye to me or if her feelings have sincerely been hurt. You can see her eyes well up and her mouth turns into a frown. But she’ll fight the tears. She’ll run away, get silent, or even cover her face with a blanket. But she’ll refuse to cry in front of us.
Last night was one of the most gut wrenching moments I think I’ve ever seen as a mom. I was trying to clean up from dinner and get a couple of other things done. The kids were bickering (as they do) and were bored with anything I could come up with on TV. I came across Follow That Bird just as it was starting. Do you remember that Sesame Street movie from the 80s? Well my kids are not regular Sesame Street watchers anymore, but they still love it on occasion and they’d never seen this movie before. My son got bored after a few minutes and went to go play in his room. My four year old on the other hand sat through the entire movie.
It ended just as I finished the last of the dinner dishes. I came into the room to see Cheyanne standing there with her blanky. I saw that look in her eyes. They were filled to the brim with tears and her face was quickly turning into a frown. “What’s wrong peanut?” I asked. “Didn’t you like the movie?” She ran up to me and buried her face into my waist, fighting the urge to cry. “Ernie was so sad when Big bird was gone…” her voice trailed off and she buried her face back into me.
I whisked her onto my lap and sat on the couch as she continued to bury her face into my chest. I got her to look up at me and all she could say was “Ernie was so sad without his friend..” I said, “Yes, but what happened at the end?” She started to slowly smile and said, “Big Bird came home and Ernie was happy.”
I reminded her it was OK to be sad and it was OK to cry. After a moment she hopped off my lap and went back about her business.
This morning I asked if she wanted to watch Follow That Bird again. She said no. I asked why not. She simply said, “I don’t want to talk about it” and walked out of the room.
Yesterday my little girl went butterfly catching. She went with a neighbor, her son and of course my son. They went around the corner to the park where there has been a ton of butterflies due to migrating habits lately.
When they returned my daughter was so proud that she had caught one. There was this precious little butterfly in a little butterfly habitat with a few leaves and some flowers. She proudly showed it to everyone she could and we placed it on top of the bookshelf to keep it out of Blossom the cat’s grasp.
I asked her if we were going to let it go, and she looked at me with her big blue eyes and said “NO Mommy! She’s my butterfly.” I figured we’d deal with it in a few days and let it go. This morning the first thing she did was take down the butterfly habitat and laid down on the floor next to it. She quietly whispered to the butterfly, “Hey girl, how was your night?” Needless to say, my daughter was attached.
Later in the day as I tried to round up my daughter for lunch, she refused to answer me. Which is not too out of the ordinary for my little Diva, so I went in search of her. I found her sitting quietly behind the couch downstairs beside our sliding glass door looking out into the backyard. Before I could tell her to come upstairs for lunch I saw the very crushed look she had on her face. AND the empty butterfly habitat beside her.
I asked her what happened and where her butterfly was. With big tears streaming down she pointed outside where I saw the leaves and flowers on the back patio. “I let her go home, and now I miss her!” She said as she ran to me and burst into a hyper cry.
While part of me broke inside seeing her so sad, a bigger part of me swelled with love and pride. My daughter had just learned a life lesson that I could never explain or teach her. When you love something, set it free.
I ached for her, but told her how happy the butterfly was and how happy the butterfly’s family was going to be to see her back home. Then we ate lunch, where she got a couple cookies for being so sweet to her butterfly.
4 years old and already she understands something about love that some adults never understand.
I love being a mom.
(Originally written) Sunday, March 25, 2007
Do you know that song, She’s Got A Way by Billy Joel? Ever since I was a little girl I have loved this song. I would daydream that someday I would meet a man and he would feel this away about me. But ever since the day Allen and I decided to start a family, this song completley became about something, or someone totally different. This song isn’t a traditional love song to me anymore. It never will be. Because for me, whenever I hear this song, I think of Cheyanne’s first night home from the hospital. Well her first night home from the hospital, and every day since then. Right up until a little while ago when I kissed her goodnight. And she smiled and said “Love you mommy”. My little peanut butter. My little Cheyanne. My princess.
I think the biggest difference in being mother to a daughter, is that it makes you truly strive to be a better woman. Respecting myself, treating myself with dignity, being proud of myself inside and out, and taking pride in everything that is being a woman is so much more important. Not just because I deserve to, but because she deserves to. Every heartbreak, every mistake, every friend that screws her over, every test she fails, every guy that never calls, or even every guy that won’t stop calling, school, marriage, motherhood, the way she deals with all of it, well is going to be based on how I show her how to deal with it. The woman she becomes tomorrow is going to be a direct result of the woman I am today. I’m not sure why it is exactly, but a woman has much more to answer to when raising a daughter. Maybe because men have a tendency to not deal with childhood issues too much, but man, a pissed off daughter will tell you exactly where you failed as a mom. If that realization doesn’t get me to ease up on my own drama queen tendencies, I don’t know what will. Anyway, happy 2nd birthday to my peanut butter (don’t ask, it’s her given nickname…) on Wednesday.
“She’s got a light around her, And everywhere she goes a million dreams of love surround her, Everywhere” -Billy Joel