I have always been amazed by my child’s creativity and imagination. Dragons and unicorns were a part of our everyday life for a very long time.💖
My daughter could play for HOURS on end with nothing but her imagination. It exhausted me, I’m ashamed to admit, but I prefered the puzzles and tactile play over using my imagination. My husband, on the other hand, was able to keep up with her and they laughed and played and laughed and played!
Oh, how I miss those days!
I remember my daughter coming home from 1st grade and telling me “mommy, lots of the kids in school say that dragons and unicorns aren’t real! ” This saddened her immensely. My response was “I’m very sad for those kids. They obviously have never met your dragons.” Secretly, I feared this was the beginning of the end of her beautiful imagination. Boy was I wrong! By the end of the year, she had all the kids asking if they could bring home one of her dragon friends. That’s my girl! 💗
On top of an amazing imagination, my child also had a lot of energy and sometimes I could swear she sucked mine right out of me so she would have enough to keep going! Never having been one to nap or sleep soundly, she would just keep going! Oh, she’d get grumpy and “over-tired” as some would put it, but actually sleep? Um, No!
Every night was a struggle to get her to sleep. There was absolutely no getting out of the room for me! Just when I would feel it safe to slip out of the room, she would wake up and we would start all over again! I read that infants needed to learn to self-regulate and to let them “cry it out,” but that advice just ended up being a cruel joke! If there ever was a “battle of the wills,” this tiny child had me beat before we ever got started (and still does).
I, along with most parents, wanted to do everything “right.” Little did I know at the time, my little ball of energy would prove everyone wrong! Just about every author who proclaimed that “this is the way to do it.” Every parent that insisted I try this or that. My mom, who was sure I was spoiling my child (and may still believe that).
I alienated myself and my child because I felt judged all the time! Why was she the only one in a group of kids to always wander off? Why did she not listen to me when I asked her to do something? Why were all the other parent’s able to console their children when mine was inconsolable?
Im ashamed to admit how ignorant I was! I was worrying about being judged! Yes, I worried about my child not “fitting in” and how that might affect her down the line, but that had to do with judgement too.
I was one of “those” parents. I worried all the time! My child was sensitive, that I knew very well.
I could NOT vacuum any part of the house when she was home because it would send her into a frenzy. I could not wash her hair without her fearing for her life! I could not trim her nails without intense fear and anxiety that I would cut her (even though I never had). These are only a small sampling of her intense reactions to things that I did not understand.
People told me i needed to encourage her more and to push her to do the many things that were outside of her comfort zone.
One day, we were at swim practice and she got in the pool but would get insanely scared after that and want back out. My normal response would be to sit there and watch the rest of the kids swim while mine just sat and watched with me on the sidelines, silently hoping that one day soon, she would be less afraid. But on this one day, I vowed to push her. The swim instructor said that they always calm down once they get started, so I was going to be firm and let the instructor “get her started.”
Loud cries came from my child, but that wasn’t anything new for me to hear. We just never let it get that far in public. “I’m babying her, ” I thought. I am preventing her from becoming confident.
As she cried out in horror, screaming and begging me to get her, I put on a brave face and gently encouraged her to try, just like everyone told me I should.
A mother approached me after about 3 minutes and harshly said “you are torturing that poor child! ” and i was instantly ashamed! She was right and I knew it!
Many instances like these followed throughout the years. Dirty looks when my child had a melt down, silently judging me for either spoiling this child or torturing her!
I didn’t know what to do! I always shared the struggles with her pediatrician who would always smile and reassure me that she would quickly outgrow these little quirks. Well… I’m still waiting!
By the age of 3, I had read just about all the parenting books that worked for all my friends, but never worked for us. I was exhausted. I was confused! But i would never give up!
I finally found a book that answered so many questions. FINALLY! The books name is Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurchinka. Best book I ever read! I finally felt that I was not alone and the suggestions in the book actually helped! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R1R63QK/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
It actually spoke of the intensity of emotion and the sensitivity to many sensory related things. This book was the beginning of my understanding that my child was different and unique and that was okay! I was on my way to becoming a better, more confident mom.