Dear Essie, Nomi and Eva,
When your mama was little, I had a lively mind, and a stubborn streak a mile wide (not a bad thing, if you ask me). When your daddy was a small fry, he was lively with a propensity for getting into honest mischief when he was bored. So, chances are, if you have as many babies as you say you want to have, you might have at least one offspring who has a wildly active mind or body.
These are the two year olds who empty not one,
but ALL of the flour
and dried bean cannisters from the pantry while their mommy lays their baby sister down for a nap. These little sprites attempt to get their own cereal and milk at 2.5, climb to the top of the bookshelf at 3, leave the house through the window screen to pick mommy some flowers at 3.5, give all their stuffed animals a
shampoo early in the morning very quietly "so they don't bother your sleep" at 4, and try their hand at making waffles from scratch and doctoring the "diseased" cat with medical tape at 4.5. (And the same children who chase down that very cat and wrestle it to the ground to save an unfortunate mole from certain death!)
Least you think my opinion of lively children is low, let me set the record straight right now,
loves: I'm rather fond of them. In fact, I think they're brilliant in every way. I admire their creativity and drive to accomplish new things, appreciate the fact that they aren't dampened by the arbitrary rules that society deems necessary to set. The soft spot in my heart for lively people is permanent and dear to me.
Teaching respect of others can be a challenge, so, I'll let you in on a secret I've discovered: lively children tend to recognize and honor the boundaries of others more when their own needs are
met. That sounds like a great deal of gobbledygook , doesn't it? What it means, boiled down, is- you may threaten and take and woun
d and restrict as much as you like, but this will likely only serve to frustrate your lively
child. Mommy knows, unfortunately, because I've tried all those things. It was actually Essie, one day, that looked at me and said, "Doing that will only make me madder. I can't help it. I need something to DO!!"
And that's the key, darlings. An active mind literally and simply cannot stop being as active as it is. So, my job as a mommy became not keeping you out of mischief, but giving you plenty of safe exploring and adventure to sink your little teeth into. It dawned on me slowly that I didn't want to slowly box you into something more manageable. I wanted to show you how to be the best and safest spectacular you that you could possibly be without blowing yourself and others up.
Ever notice how all the interesting book characters (the ones who have the best adventures) tend to be a bit different or "mischievous"? Most of them are also the people who have the quick wits and bravery to rise to the occasion when something truly terrifying or challenging presents itself. Never let another person shame you out of playing the role that was written for you; if you're full of spirit, it's for a reason!
It's been hard work keeping you busy. But then, so would have been following you around and bullying and coaxing and begging and insisting that you be still and docile, something completely against your (God-given) nature. So, we dance. We jump, we climb, we take things apart, we cook, we put things back together, we jest, we roll, we sing at the top of our lungs, we read about squirrel anatomy after we find a dead one in the yard, we make approved messes.
I sit cringing sometimes on the sidelines while you crack eggs and get some on the counter, while you hammer away at nails in a board, you dexterously walk narrow rails, while you bury yourself in the dirt in the garden, you teach me phrases of your own invented language and while you construct your very own dutch-hair-fro through copious amount of back-combing (and then proudly wait by the door to go grocery shopping in your new 'do).
And, frankly, loves? Despite the fact that I fall into bed completely and utterly exhausted every night, I wouldn't want to change a thing. I used to hope you got a "more" child in your adult years, as a means of personal retribution. Now, I pray you get the privilege someday, because it's an intensely beautiful and humbling experience to see a being that intense burn so brightly every morning.
I love you.