Between last weeks freak snowstorm and a nasty cold, Aria and I were both cooped up in the house for a full week. By the end of that week, I was sobbing uncontrollably at 3am and wondering what the hell was wrong with me. Oh...that thing called fresh air? It's really important in order to keep too many cobwebs from gathering in the head.
So I got Aria dressed in the one outfit she'll wear and we took the puppy for an hour walk and just chatted.
She told me a story about a princess whose parents wanted her to obey all the time and sent her to princess obedience school where she failed the big test. But she was happy that she failed because she did it on purpose so her parents wouldn't expect her to be perfect.
Thank goodness I was actually listening and being mindful. I'm not going to lie sometimes I check out during her long stories; I don't mean to but there's always something big on my mind...bills, school stuff... But I'm glad I didn't miss this because she wasn't talking about some princess she made up; she was talking about herself.
She feels like she has to be perfect. And I don't doubt in her (almost) 6 year old logic, making mistakes and acting up are ways to ensure we never expect perfection from her. Because what is more scary than the thought that your parents expect perfection when you know you can't live up to it?
I mostly just listened figuring she needed to work through these scary emotions. At one point, I broached the idea of whether she felt like the princess but Aria teared up and told me she didn't want to talk about it. I asked if she wanted to talk about the princess some more and she said yes. And again, I mostly listened because I needed to hear what she had to say and she needed to tell me in her own special way.
Between the SPD stuff and regular 6 year old rebellion, I'm tired most days but I realize that none of that is going away anytime soon. What I can do right now is take some of the stress out of our relationship by trying hard to lay off the lecturing and correcting. Lately, I haven't been yelling when I do it (5 weeks yell free - yay!) and I totally mean well but who wants someone constantly commenting on her actions and words?
Since I have this yell free thing in the bag (I jest, it's a constant battle to be mindful), I'm adding "letting the little things go" to my parenting goals. I mean truly letting the little things go. So what if she wrote her number 3 backwards? Right now she needs encouragement to build the self confidence to continue trying and learning.
I'm not big on holidays. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the idea that people today are celebrating love and their families but this day isn't a big deal to me.
But today I decided it might be fun to make a love poster. Aria painted the background, she cut out hearts, and wrote the things that make her feel loved on them, and finally chose a few of the hearts and glued them to the poster.
I kept my mouth shut and didn't offer "helpful" suggestions unless she asked. My silence was gifted with seeing how creative she is when left to herself. She cut out the hearts "fancy." As if they were Rorschach ink blots, she told me what they looked like.
"This one looks like two faces! Oh and this one is a flower!"
Love. It's a funny thing especially when it comes to our children. I want the absolute best for Aria but sometimes my worries for the future prevent me from seeing her needs in the present.
I can't guarantee her future any more than I can my own. But I can make a mindful effort to ensure that she knows how very much she is loved, imperfections and all.
Happy Love Day!