- Family and Parenting
Little Girl Growing Up
To Control Time....
It’s so heart-warming to see your little child grow up and at the same time heart-breaking. We want them to go to the next level but yet the mother in us wants to hold them back and continue to cuddle and coddle them. But, alas, time is not in our control.
What Tangled Webs We Weave
My youngest just turned seven and she is extremely petite. Most people guess her to be five years old. Because of how everyone treats her, she has been stuck in baby mode for a few years which has really caused problems with school and family life. We get extremely frustrated when a first grader is determined to act like a pre-schooler and refuse to grow up. Not that I’m ready for the make-up stage yet, but let’s leave the baby stage behind once and for all.
To help us out due to extreme circumstances, we took her to a counselor who picked up very quickly how she was fighting to stay the baby. It seems that the entire extended family and even strangers have played a huge role in this. The fact that she is the baby of the family and so small is obviously a reason that many would struggle with growing up. That is not unusual. But so many other factors played a part. She was born on my father’s 75th birthday. His last birthday. She was his gift (one I will pay for my whole life). He doted on her the two months he knew her and so did everyone else. After he passed away, everyone in the family still oohed and ahed over her since they connected her so much with Dad. She got away with so much and was told how beautiful and sweet she was. We had so much to work on since she began to know how cute she really was.
Then, the other side of the family began to do many of the same things. She became the apple of her great-grandfather’s eye. Between him and his wife, she stunk to high heaven with their spoiling. She was not quite two when he passed away. She then became honored on that side of the family. Great-grandmother would go behind our backs and give her whatever she wanted all because she was so loved by her husband. The fights we had over this with her and our little one are indescribable.
Not long the little princess decided to expand her kingdom to home. All other subjects bowed to her, so she expected all those in the same house to do the same. Unfortunately, to keep the peace, the siblings did show homage. This was getting out of control!!!! Nothing we could do worked because everyone else was working against us. Whenever they called her “Peanut”, “Little Thing”, or “Cupcake”, she was kept in the baby mode and played the role very well. Her diminutive size was always commented on which again reminded her of being a baby. When trouble began to erupt in school, we sought help.
Her counselor emphasized how we (as a whole) need to stop treating her as a baby so that she could grow up. Usually when we tried to get others to stop the baby talk, they implied that we were over-reacting. That is until they discovered that the expert (counselor) said that it was the cause of the princess acting out royally. Then they thought that maybe they should have listened to the ignorant parents. Consciously they began to watch how they spoke to her and praised her for her big-girl decisions. She loved it and slowly we saw the older child fighting to get out of the baby.
Challenges Draw Us Up
We had days of success and many not so successful. Months went by of the child fighting the baby. Then one accident helped pull that child out further. We were eating lunch with a friend, when she stood out of her chair. Her feet tripped over each other and she fell head first into the edge of a coffee table. The way she was holding her eye, I just knew she had hit the eyeball. I raced to her to see that she had a deep long cut under her eyebrow. She was crying to hard. I applied pressure on it before she could see the blood and with the help of all around us got her to the emergency room within four minutes. When we got in the van, she calmed down and said I was holding her wound too tightly. I tried to explain that I couldn’t let up on the pressure. Head wounds bleed so profusely. She kept quiet all the way to the hospital. When we got there she still did not cry as the nurse examined her. The pressure that I had applied worked and most of the bleeding had stopped. When she saw the blood, she threw up and almost passed out. She rallied out of it and remained calm. Only when they talked of stitches did she panic, but still was very brave. I could tell in her eyes that she was scared as the wonderful doctor told her what he was going to do. When he left the room, she looked at me pleadingly and begged me not to let them “quilt” her eye. She refused to cry in front of any of us and wanted to be so brave. In the end, she was not stitched up, but they used glue which she was most happy with. My little girl grew up a little that day. She acted so different over the next few days and started to put away many of her baby actions.
Then a few weeks later we were with some friends at their lake house. All the kids were jumping in the water and having fun. Now, this little one has been afraid of water since the day she was born. Why we don’t know. But for some reason it has terrified her. Baths were like horror movies. Driving by a pond or lake brought screams from the back seat. We never did understand it. Eventually baths were overcome when she took them with her older sister and then after a year or two decided that she might try them on her own if we would sit in there with her. Two years ago she would get into swimming pools and small lakes only if we were near. Well, this weekend she grew up again. She put on the lifejacket and got in the water all by herself. I’m sure watching all those other children jump in without any fear helped. She wasn’t even afraid when she saw the fish swimming beneath her. But what really shocked me was yet to come. They were going to take all the kids (about ten or so) out tubing. My son got on first and I was wondering how he would like it since he had never done it. I was not even thinking of the youngest because with her history of water I just knew she would never do it. Believe it or not, they brought the boat to the dock and who was on the inner tube? Three girls with my baby in the middle. I couldn’t believe it. She was so excited that she slid by herself into the water and dogpaddled all the way to the dock. The whole way up the steps she was yelling about how she did it! A few days later she put her head under water all by herself. She is now begging for swimming lessons. I do believe that I will never see the baby again.
Am I sad? Yes. Am I happy? Oh, yes! This happens as my oldest turns thirteen so needless to say, this mother is experiencing her own kind of painful growing. She will always be my baby as will all my other children, but I can with confidence know that she is growing into the future adult that we really want her to. Doesn’t mean that I can’t mourn the innocent cuddles and kisses that only a baby can give you. Congratulations, Victoria, on growing up. You are proving yourself victorious!