It all started with a simple trip through IKEA. I was there with my son, casually
waiting for him to tire himself out perusing all of the gadgets and furniture that IKEA has to offer. We had just enjoyed a wonderful lunch, complete with over-looking the big trucks and light rail zoom up and down the I-25 corridor.
As we were walking around, I found a princess canopy net to go above my daughter’s bed. I figured that she would love to find this surprise addition to her room, as we were picking her up from Pre-K in just a few short hours. She has a room adorned with white and pink, a small castle, and plenty of girly items. I mean, what little girl doesn’t want to feel like a princess, right?! Plus, we had just had one of those mom vs. four-year-old spats about sports, what to wear, etc.
She was starting to lean towards the girly side and I was perfectly happy – I may get my tutu-wearing princess after all.
Fast forward five hours. My toddler has napped, the house was clean-ish, I hung her princess canopy up, re-made her bed with her gorgeous pink mermaid sheets, and waited for her to see her surprise. We walked up the stairs when we got home, and, well, let’s just say her surprise was less than exciting. It was sort of one of those moments I thought she’d be ecstatic about, and then she just wasn’t. She actually appeared to be more excited about the lady bugs she had caught earlier in the day.
It was this moment, yes, this EXACT moment that I truly realized that my daughter is going to be exactly how she wants to be, and I have no control over that.
You can guide your kid to make the best decisions possible, instill positive values, and try to raise decent, upstanding little beings, but their personality is just that. Theirs. She loves wearing dresses 7 days a week and sparkle spray in her hair just as much as she loves getting down in the dirt, splashing around in puddles, and getting messy all day long.
As my daughter went to sleep that night, completely unexcited about the princess canopy, I felt disappointed. But then as I sat there, I thought, why does this actually matter? I mean, she’s a sweet girl, cautious of others feelings. She loves playing with her friends, popsicles, and swimming. She’s just like every other four-year-old I know.
And you know what, that’s when I had the second epiphany of the day: She is herself, not what mommy wants her to be at that moment.
My four-year-old is now old enough to say no to things that she truly dislikes, and say it with such charisma and character that you can’t help but smile. It’s not that “no” that a two-year-old says when they’re refusing to nap or eat vegetables, it’s a “no” that is more powerful. A “no” that represents who she is, her boundaries, and what she likes/wants/desires. This isn’t about discipline, this is about letting your children say “no” to things that they dislike.
While my daughter is not the tutu-wearing princess, she is still the core of my heart.
She is the one who teaches me every day patience and to just be yourself! My daughter is definitely a Superwoman type gal, complete with skinned knees from wearing her dresses all day, and you know what, I am embracing it.
No matter how hard I try, she may never want the long hair, sparkly shoes, and a princess canopy over her bed, but you know what? She is who she is, and for that I am eternally grateful and love that she is coming into her own each and every day. At the end of the day, it was the best $15 I have spent recently, and I’m glad that I learned to just not force things upon my child.