Sometimes I get so frustrated with Lia for her just being herself. I wish she were more mature (yikes! she's only 5 years old, what do I expect, right?!) I wish she were a faster learner. More advanced. More patient. I don't know why. I guess it's the danger of comparison. I promised myself when she was a baby that I would never compare her to other children, but somewhere along the way I started breaking that promise. And it wasn't until yesterday evening that I realized how special those little quirks of hers are. How precious her personality is, and how I should NEVER wish she were more conventional. It was only after I told a couple of stories about Lia to a friend that the blinders were lifted off my eyes. (All this may seem common sensical to all of you, but to me it was a real revelation. For some reason, I wanted Lia to read like all her friends read, and play like all her friends play, and learn like all her friends learn, and it really frustrated me that she didn't)
Anyway below are the anecdotes that made my heart melt for my beautiful daughter Lia.
Story #1: The Inchworm
Lia became infatuated with bugs a couple of months back. She was determined to have a bug as a pet. So when her dad took her to the park for a friend's birthday party, she seized the opportunity to catch an inchworm and bring him home. She set up a little sanctuary for him inside a plastic cup-with branch, leaf, grass and flowers. It was an inchworm paradise.That night when she went to bed I got curious about what that little worm was doing in there, so I took him off the table where he'd been situated and sat the cup on the floor next to me. Well I got sleepy, went to bed, and completely forgot about the little worm until the morning, when I noticed the cup had been tipped over and a cat licking his lips. Oreo, our cat, had eaten Lia's worm, and it was all my fault! First thing she asked when she woke up that morning was about her worm, and I felt terrible when I had to tell her the truth, "mommy put the cup on the floor and oreo ended up eating the worm. I'm so sorry baby. Please forgive me." And she did forgive me. She's an angel.
Story # 2: The roly poly
She tried having a bug as a pet again, and another plastic cup came into the house. Inside was a large, rolled up roly poly. At first I thought it was just too scared to unroll, but as the hours passed I started to suspect that the roly poly was dead.... My daughter brought home a dead roly poly as a pet. I convinced her that he'd be happier outside in the fresh air, and she and her daddy went downstairs and "set him free."
Story #3: The boy and the Girl
This is the preface to story #4. And it starts with a question Lia asked me months ago, "Mommy, how does a boy get a girl?"
Of course I asked her what she meant by that, and she clarified, "You know; how did daddy get you?" So it dawned on me, she wants to know how you get a husband or a wife. Boy = Husband.
Story # 4: In America
In attempt to teach my 5 year old about the meaning of Memorial Day, I do the usual.... make up songs to the melody of famous show tunes! This time I used West Side Story's America. I tried to express to her how lucky she is to be an American. How in other countries girls can't go to school, or marry whom they wish to marry, or wear what they want to wear, or become what they want to become.She had been telling me recently that she wants to be a pilot when she grows up. So naturally I started there... "Lia can be a pilot in America. She can fly planes in America. Watch her fly high in America! Lia's a pilot in America!" Maggie was a Dentist in America... Lia then became a gymnast in America, and I finally ended with "ORRR you can be what mommy is!! 'Lia can be a stay at home mom in America. Take care of her babies in America. Give them hugs and kisses in America. All day long in America!" She sat quiet for only a moment before she asked me... "Mommy can I be a pilot and my boy stay home with the kids?" I looked at her with both shock and pride...Inside I'm thinking "HELL YEAH! You can be a pilot and let your old man stay home with the kids!! My strong, independent, warrior princess!" But to her I only said, "Of course you can do that! Baby this is AMERICA! You can do anything you want in America!"