Dreams To Do

November 2014 archive

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

Shortly after I gave birth to my daughter, I remember sitting in our tiny living room, sun streaming through the window on a hot summer day, gazing down at this sweet little innocent bundle asleep in my arms, and thinking about all of my hopes and dreams for her future. I dreamed she would be fearless, determined, brave, outgoing, and confident – all things I’ve never been. I hoped that she would be different from me, better than me.

Now at just barely five years old, I already see so clearly the little person she is. She’s amazing in so many ways, I can’t even describe, but looking at her is like looking at myself 25 years ago. My heart is already breaking a little bit, seeing her struggle in ways that I also struggled at her age and knowing that she is going to face a lot of the same internal battles that I myself have faced.

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The night before Halloween was Leila’s very first school dance – a Monster Mash costume party. The days leading up to it were full of bursting-at-the-seams anticipation. She couldn’t wait to get all dressed up in her leopard costume and see all of her little friends in theirs. The night of, we couldn’t get there fast enough.

Her school gym was packed full of families in costume, lots of decorations, and loud music blasting from the speakers. As we walked in I could already sense the social anxiety building inside her. I myself wasn’t looking forward to the social event, but I was looking forward to watching my kids have fun. I figured once we found some of her friends, she’d loosen up and have a blast. Wrong. My heart hurt as Leila’s little friends held hands and danced around, but nothing I (or they) did or said encouraged her to join in the fun. I finally got down on her level and in the middle of a million people with music burning our ears, demanded that she tell me what’s wrong. After asking several times and telling her to speak up, I finally made out what she was saying to me through sad eyes: “I don’t look like everyone else.”

My heart seriously shattered in that moment. How is my five year old daughter already worrying so much about what other people think of her? A few weeks prior when she told me she wanted to be a leopard for Halloween, I had a strange feeling she would regret not wanting to be Elsa or Anna or some other princess like every other little girl. I even asked her several times if she was sure that’s what she wanted to be. She was excited to be a leopard. But as soon as she saw all her little friends in their pretty costumes, she lost all confidence in her choice. It killed me.

We ended up leaving the Monster Mash after only about 20 minutes. Leila was just frozen in a state of sadness (and the loud music and crazy costumes were freaking Landon out). As soon as we got in the car, Leila lost it in a sea of tears. We ended the night with a deep heart-to-heart talk about being confident and not worrying what other people around us do as long as we’re happy with ourselves. A difficult conversation to have with a little girl.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I flashed back on all the moments in my life when I had confidence and happiness stolen away from me as soon as I compared myself to others. How do I teach my daughter, who is so much like me it isn’t even funny, to not let the same thing happen to her? How can I help her have fun and embrace life instead of worrying so much about what other people think? How do I teach her these things when I don’t even know how to do it myself?

On Halloween the next day, after our deep talk and a mini life lesson learned, Leila once again embraced being a leopard and ended up having an awesome time trick-or-treating with her brothers and cousins. I just love this little girl so much and I wish she would realize how awesome she is.

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4 months.

Considering everything I have going on in my life right now, I’m pretty impressed that I’m getting this post written just two days after Roman turned 4 months old. 4 months!!! Every month it gets better and better with this little guy and we are entering my absolute favorite time in babyhood – when they start sitting up, playing with toys, and becoming much more interactive. Love it!

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Since Roman turned 4 months old the day before Halloween, it was only appropriate for us to photograph him in his costume. The same monkey costume that his big sis wore 5 years ago! My little monkey…

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Happenings with Roman Michael at 4 months old…

  • This kid is becoming a little drooly monster. He is constantly sucking on his hands and soaking his clothing.
  • He’s rolled from front to back.
  • He finally doesn’t hate tummy time now that he’s getting stronger.
  • Such a smiley, giggly little beast. Can’t get enough!
  • Sleeps through the night about 75% of the time now. Put him down around 7pm, feed him before I go to sleep around 10/10:30pm, and then he wakes up around 6am. I’ll take it!
  • Takes a binky when falling asleep, but that’s it.
  • Takes most of his daytime naps in the ergo carrier. It’s just so much easier for me to get him to sleep in it and he stays asleep much longer than in his crib. And I don’t hate the snuggle time.
  • Roman has recently decided that he pretty much hates his car seat and likes to scream his head off when you strap him in. If we time car rides close to nap time, he’ll usually fall asleep right away. Otherwise, there are a lot of tears.
  • His favorite person is his mommy (well, duh!) – it is the best feeling in the world watching his face light up whenever he sees me.

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I’m just obsessed with this kid. I love spending pretty much every minute of my day with him. I seriously never want him to grow up.

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