Last weekend at a Disney Princess Ball: my little girl’s dream come true.
Cross-posted on my blog MWGS:
Author’s Note: Today, I turn 33 years old. It has definitely been an interesting three and a half years since my daughter was born and life changed in a big way. I think that I have learned more about myself in these few short years than in many others combined throughout my lifetime. I see myself differently, am taking better care of myself, am learning to love others better, and live my faith and purpose more honestly and, I hope, effectively. I do more than like myself at 33. I truly believe that I have finally learned to love myself.
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My form is a thing of beauty.
Take all your definitions of allure
And weigh them in your hands,
As I make mine my own.
Breasts, waist, hips, legs,
Arms, stomach, shoulders, back.
All I work to make strong.
This I do for myself,
For the good of my body as well as my soul.
To be strong enough in body to hold the skies on my shoulders
But soft enough in soul to hold joy in the sway of my hips
And grace in the reach of my hands.
My mind is a work of art.
Growing and challenged still,
Deeply considering and intense.
My intelligence has not been silenced by time,
But continues to grow and refine with new challenges.
My art is a meeting of thought and feeling,
Pulled together, chiseled, and shaped.
I share my art with a desire for hope,
Encouragement, uplifting, and joy.
I write to challenge to love, to kindness, to compassion.
I write to create refuge, worlds in which to escape,
To send out words that my own voice might find difficult to speak.
I sing to birth joy. I dance to proclaim free. I dress to cry beauty.
I write and post and mail to connect and pull threads together.
In life. In community. In love. In friendship. In chosen family.
I am a being made unqiue and becoming uniquer still.
The older I get, the finer I am becoming.
You should rejoice. I’d love for you to rejoice.
If you don’t, though, that’s your choice.
But, most of all, I just want you to smile with me.
Today was an interesting one. Today, my daughter requested that we go look for a purple Sofia the First dress for her dress-up collection. I knew that I had gift cards I could spend so I said yes. This prompted several conversations and occurrences that proved to me that, yes, she is indeed growing and developing emotionally, even though I was beginning to doubt this idea.
The first conversation happened before we left the house:
B: Mommy, what are you doing here?
Me: I’m going to wash dishes. Then we can get ready and go find a purple l dress. But I have to finish my chores first, okay?
B: Okay. I be in in my bedroom. *runs off to play Super Why games on her Kindle*
That is Exhibit A. Exhibit B came about in the store. We found a lovely Sofia dress-up gown but, oh, there were shoes to go with it! My girl is a great lover of shoes, for those who don’t know, and so she insisted that she wanted both the dress and the shoes. I calmly explained to her that she had to pick one or the other because I did not have enough money on my gift card to buy both. This was, as you probably expected, heartbreaking for the little miss. She started to break down but then, just as suddenly, she said:
“I need to sit down.”
I told her that she could sit down right where she was and she took a seat on an open, low shelf. Then she started breathing deeply, in through her nose and out through her mouth. Then I realized what was happening. My three-year-old baby was calming herself down! She took at least four deep breaths, me breathing along with her for a few of them. Then, after a moment, we revisited the issue and she decided that she wanted the dress more than the shoes. She was still disappointed about the shoes, yes, but she made her choice. As we got to the checkout, she seemed to remember how upset she was about not getting the shoes. Again, she told me, “I need to sit down,” so I gave her permission to sit on another low shelf right near me and I waited until she was ready before we paid for the dress.
It happens when you aren’t looking, these moments of growth. These moments are proof that what you are doing is helping, is working, and does matter for the good for your little one(s). So, keep on doing what you are doing, mamas and dads. Keep teaching and counseling and modeling for your little ones. They are are learning, they are developing the good habits and strategies that you are endeavoring to teach them. It’s hard, I know. It’s frustrating and tiring and maddening. But it’s working. It is! It just sometimes happens when you aren’t looking.
I love the encouraging words written here. Know this, sister mothers, you are amazing!
Moms are notoriously tough on themselves. We beat ourselves up for not having a visible six-pack in the ninth month of pregnancy, for not being back in the size four jeans three days after pushing a baby out, for not having hair, makeup and the baby all bundled up in a pretty little package one week in.
There are plenty who tell you it’s not difficult to raise a few kids and look put together and there are plenty who think showering is overrated. For some working out is a priority. Others feel they get their workout chasing after a toddler.
The fact is, you change after you’ve had a baby. Or two. Or five. Sure, you change emotionally, but you change physically as well.
It’s not always easy to look in the mirror and like what you see. Even on a good day. If it is after a few months of sleepless nights? Forget it. If you are focusing…
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I just sang my daughter to sleep (and she actually FELL ASLEEP) for the first time in I don’t know when. It took less than ten minutes for her to drop off, maybe even less than five. I’ve missed that. Usually, if I stay in her room, she will fight sleep to interact so I have to leave her room in order for her to settle down and fall asleep. I don’t know why tonight was different but I am glad that I kept my heart soft and was mindful and went to her when she cried instead of just assuming that it was because she didn’t want to go to bed.
As I sat on the side of her bed, she settled, curled up on her side with her little blankies and snuggled under her “giant blankie”. As I hummed her lullaby, she hummed the first verse along with me, fidgeted around with her blankies for a few minutes, and then eventually quieted, her breathing calming and evening out. When I finally stopped humming and raised my hand from where I had rested it on her waist while I sang, she didn’t stir. I kissed her head, whispered that I love her, and lingered by her bedside for a moment, just watching her.
My girl is growing so very quickly. She’s strong and smart and imaginative and fierce and spiky and strong-willed. She loves to pretend and play dress-up. Her current favorite movie is “Inside Out”, which she calls “Calm Down” and she dreams of being Joy “with the beautiful blue princess hair”. I tell her that one day we will dress up together – her as Joy and me as Disgust. (I mean cosplay, of course.) She is starting to express a desire of wanting to go to school so I am trying to use that as motivation to take that last step towards potty-training. She knows the process and all that stuff; it’s just convincing her to be in regular underwear all of the time and doing the work of going to the bathroom regularly.
But, for tonight, she was just my baby girl who fell asleep to the sound of my voice.
((Art: Lonely Lullaby – http://www.deviantart.com/art/Lonely-Lullaby-216206458 ))
Bizzy: “I’m a Bizzy Witch!”
Me: “You’re a witch? Are you making a potion?
Bizzy: “No, I’m making soup.”
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Bizzy: “I’m swimming!”
Me: “Are you swimming like with Grandpa?”
Bizzy: “No, I’m not swimming like Grandpa. I swim like a mermaid!”