I think about these girls of mine alot. I worry that I wasn’t able to appreciate their babyness at the time I had it. Post-partum anxiety was a real issue with me after Zuzu was born. Now I can see it for what it was. A hormonal state. A natural one that comes from the hormone surges during pregnancy and after. Those last few weeks of my pregnancy with Zuzu I wandered the rooms of our home like a dog who couldn’t get comfortable. I complained about allergies to my OB because I couldn’t breathe at night and would wake up out of breath and in a panic. I’m a worrier. Always have been, going way back to my having had an ulcer when I was in third grade. It’s what I do, I beat up my little body from the inside out. I look for how I can be different, rather than asking anyone else to do anything different. And when I can’t figure anything out- I retreat. Most people who know me socially might not know this about me. I’m fairly friendly, quick with a smile and like to be on the go. That’s my compensation- my anxiety is at its worst when I’m stuck in my own head worrying. But this post isn’t about me. This post is about Zuzu- and the spirit and energy she embraces life with.
In her 3 short years I am amazed at her ability to see the world as her oyster. That every pebble is a pearl. ” Oh Momma- we forgot to take my little potty upstairs! Why, we get to do that today!!! Yay-hoo! I”m such a big girl now!” “Yay-hoo! Daddy is gonna show me how to lace his shoes!”
I feel so fortunate to know someone who is so eternally optimistic. My job in her little life will be to find a balance between guiding her through the social niceties- you know; how we don’t holler, “Yay-hoo!” at the top of our lungs in the restaurant, how we can be excited to make the bed but not break the bed or fall off of the bed in our exuberance. To find a way to teach her how to reign herself in but still not reign in her joy. Because the thing I often find myself pondering is how much of a given situation is my interpretation and a product of my worry of what others think. She isn’t wild at school. She’s quiet, and terribly cooperative. Or at least that is what I hear. A few weeks ago I took her in early and while I was setting her up to eat her breakfast next to the center director she was chattering on about her sister, her egg, her show she watched, etc and the center director just stared, open-mouthed and said she was shocked because Zuzu hadn’t said more than a dozen words to her in the 3 years she has been going there! I was surprised. I know kids are different at school then at home. And trust me- I’d rather enjoy her energy with us then get calls that she’s out of hand. She definitely has learned to use her words at home. Whatever we say routinely to her we hear back in her little pragmatic voice. “Momma stop kissing me, so I can tell my story!” “Momma, stop singing, it’s my turn!” “SHHHHHH, Momma eat your dinner then talk!” “Momma, you have to be nice to your friend Daddy!”
She also has grown up in classes that are mostly rough and tumble boys. And she is a very physically comfortable child. She’s comfortable in her body and it’s place in space. As evidenced most nights as she streaks around the house yay-hooing over her nakedness in preparation for her tubby. Yet sometimes I get frustrated. That we aren’t the storytime, pottery-painting, high-tea sipping, sitting with a book, quiet, just watching a show, entertaining ourselves sort of family. My girls like people, they like people to pay attention to them and they are far more interested in engaging with others then being left by themselves in any setting; be it morning, noon or night. We know lots of well-mannered, quieter children, and I do tend to find myself getting worries, we are, well too loud. Or that the mothers are judging my apparent ineptitude. And I don’t want to worry about that. I don’t want to see her spirit as a negative.
I’ve recently gotten a copy of Raising the Spirited Child and I’m already thrilled by the perspective of seeing these gifts in your child and learning to work with them. And it makes sense- view their spirit as a positive and it will become one. Tell them they repeatedly need to stop what they are doing, do something differently, that they are letting you down or angering you and that is what they will see in themselves. And I don’t want that at all. She uses her spirit for good- yes she dive-bombs the laundry pile, yes she routinely will pants me in her clammoring for me to pick her up. Some juice may get spilled in her excitement to pour her own big-girl-cup of juice. I’ll often find a myriad of toys and books in bed with us, in my purse, in her coat pockets or occasionally in the refridgerator; but they are well intentioned. She pours us all tea, she hugs with great abandon, she sings along, she reads along, she is always up for a trip to the grocery store or a night out at the restaurant. She is fairly easy to talk into a spur of the minute trip anywhere. In fact the more on the go she is the better. She’s generally willing to share and she has embraced her role as a big sister with the utmost pleasure and minimal exhibitions of any jealousy. Her sister is the first one she asks about in the morning, the one she jumps on and slobbers with kisses after school, and the one whom she wants to match with when it comes time to pick jammies and the one she takes pride in sharing her toys with and retrieving any toys stolen by other kiddos for. The other morning she woke me up to let me know that the Quail wasn’t in her co-sleeper anymore by announcing, “Wow momma! She’s grown up!” And has been heard on my cell phone letting my mother know that she is going to be a doctor, a teacher, a mommie to 10 girls and that she has to go make pink cookies now for her friends and that we need more babies like the Quail. She is always so busy, that girl, that spirit of mine.
I am so proud of my little girl. She is kind, compassionate, articulate, intelligent, thinks of and notices others- a real people person. She is thrilled with life and forgiving and passionate. She is full of life and spirit. And I wouldn’t have her any other way. I hope nothing ever quelches that confidence, that kindness, that optimism I see inherent in her nature. I’m going to do my best to protect it and be a little more like her. She’s just the right pieces of me and Lovey all bound up together in a little bundle of pure joy.