I listen from the other room. Jackie is playing with her toys, making up scenarios, taking the role of the adult or the big sister. If I sometimes worry if we do well by her, hearing her use our own words, hearing her speak kindly or corrective or playful, copying us, it give me hope. It is not what we teach her to say or do. She does and says what she sees in us.
What is it about the fear of giving in? I know my parents didn’t overthink their responses to our needs, requests. In a time of abundance, going with the flow is dangerous, giving everything in your power, or feeling compelled to give more than it’s healthy… like spoon-feeding your kid because he asks and you don’t mind it, or cleaning after him because you can do it more effectively.
For a while, when Jackie asked me to pick her up right after lunch, I stood my ground, much like when I had to take her to kindergarten and the first week she cried. I just “didn’t give in”. As of late, this past month, she kept asking if I can pick her up before nap time. She can’t sleep at kindergarten and she can’t help fidgeting. And she doesn’t love her old teacher because she scolded her to sit still. She had picked her dry lip bloody one Friday at nap time and then I decided to hear her and give in. For three weeks she hasn’t slept at school. Our crazy schedule has slowed down and opened up a bit, and though picking her up in the middle of the day has had it challenges, we accommodated her request. She stopped picking her lip, and her hangnails. Slowly. We reconnected. It’s such a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. We’ll look back years from now and maybe be grateful for the small changes and choices we made to die to self a little.
Jackie gave daddy her smiley stiker from kindergarten today. As we were having dinner she peeled it off her shirt and put it on his, and said: “for you! Because you were such a good daddy on our hike this evening!” ❤️