Raising a No-Girl

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

This girl.

I think if there was a list of "themes" for my blog, for sure one would be, "Figuring and re-figuring out how to be the mom my daughter needs." We are two peas in a pod, laugh at the same stupid jokes, share a mutual dislike of any tags on our clothes, and often feel like we're the ones who are right. (Guys, I'm working on that.)

She constantly has a hundred things running through her mind, and she doesn't have enough hours in the day to say them all. That's my Sofi girl. She's jabbering your ear off from the second she wakes up to the second she starts snoring. (She really does snore, and it's my favorite snore in the whole world. Sometimes, I'll sneak into her room and creep in really close hoping I can catch a bit of it.)

She has fears and very real anxieties. She has big ideas, and a big determination to do anything to execute them. Give her a paper and some string and she'll make you a kite. A box turns into an ice cream truck.

I love that she's determined. MOST of the time. Unless she's determined to do something fifteen minutes before I'm wanting to wake up for the day.

And because she's so determined, she's really turning into a pretty strong willed little girl who knows what she wants, and what she doesn't want to do.

- Sof, can you please go put those blocks away?
- (Thinks about it for a couple seconds.) Um, no, I don't want to.
- I didn't ask if you wanted to.
- But I didn't take the blocks out.
- Sof, pleeeeease can you just put them away? 

She then verrrrrrry reluctantly puts the blocks away, and makes a pretty big oscar-worthy scene about it. As if it was the single most biggest favor she was doing for me.

I'll admit. She really is a huge help, and everyone speaks glowingly of her. But for some reason, she really doesn't have an issue with saying no to me.

I try really hard to never pull out the "...because I said so" card on my kids, but I did come close last week. I already forget what it was that I had asked the kids to do, and Sof immediately asked why she had to? And I responded with, "Well, someday when you're a mommy and have kids, you'll get to ask your kids do these sort of things." 

"Mom. I'm not having kids, remember?"

Oh, that's right. I had forgotten that she had already made this huge life decision at the ripe old age of 5.

Just the other night, we were out with some of our good friends who were in town, and of course, we started talking about our kids. They also have a daughter Sofia's age, and I asked, "What do you guys think of five?"

I could tell by their hesitation that they were trying to think of the right words to use. We then spent the next few minutes discussing all the wonderful things about having kids around this age, but also the very real difficulties that accompany it. And then the conversation turned to our kids' ease in saying the word "no." Our friends had an older family member who said that "kids these days" just weren't being raised the same way they were used to. That their disobedience at young age, and them saying no to their elders would clearly lead to a child who would eventually grow up to be an promiscuous alcoholic who robbed banks.

We all sort of shook our heads and laughed (by the way, when are we going to stop using terms like "kids these days" or "people/parents/whatever these days?") but then Chris said something that really hit me. He said, "The ironic thing is that BECAUSE they feel comfortable saying no, they'll be more confident in saying no when they are faced with tough situations."

I love that! It's true! Already, Sof told me how some girls in her class at school were playing some game, but when I asked if she joined them she said, "No. I told them I didn't really feel like playing that. So I just played by myself."

I remember thinking, "Hey! Good for her!" Already she's learning not to cave to peer pressure!

So, is it easy when she says "no" to me? No.

Do we talk about it, and say that yes, she absolutely does need to pick up all the clothes she threw all over the floor because she wanted to change outfits for the third time that day? Yes. And do I find myself having to take deep breaths to get through it? 

You betcha.

But, do I feel like when she eventually comes to different important crossroads, she will be confident in trusting her own gut? I do. That's what being a parent is about, right? Teaching and instilling values in your kids, in hopes that the good stuff sticks, and when it's their turn to go into the world they can face it without fear? 

I hope my Sof doesn't feel like she needs to be a yes-girl all the time. That being a No-girl can get her just as far. 

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