Two of the things I believe strongly in are that no two children are alike, and that a great amount of who we are is born within. Nurture certainly plays a tremendous part, but I do believe we must adjust our nurture according to each child’s nature. While certain things are the same, I parent my twins differently according to how they each process. Despite being born two minutes apart from the same womb they are as different as night and day. When my daughter was a newborn, I used to joke that she would be the daring one climbing all over the playground and bossing her brother around. Harry was gentle, she was as fiery as the red fuzz on her head. The red fuzz remained, (and is slowly becoming actual red hair), but when the colic disappeared so did the fiery temper.
Don’t get me wrong, she is still as opinionated as ever and wants to “do it self”, but as time passes and her little personality continues to grow, I see more and more a gentle little dreamer who could easily disappear into her own imagination if I don’t watch out. She starts every day singing to her little play frogs and will spend hours playing with them and her Veggietales characters in the little pink castle we got her. She hops them in and out, lays them down in the beds, and feeds them her own food. (Yes, Froggy does tend to eat more than Arabella…but I digress).
She will place them on the window sill facing outside so they can see and will patiently turn them back around when her brother messes with them and faces them the wrong way. She will sit and quietly ‘read’ to herself for long periods of time. She will brush her brothers hair and try to dress him. She can be sneaky too when trying to get away with something, she currently loves trying to eat rocks and dirt and will nonchalantly mosey across the yard swinging her arms back and forth with a side eye on mom and the second I’m not looking try to pop a rock in her mouth.
She loves animals passionately, she lights up like a Christmas tree when her “tawts” (cats) walk into the room and always has gentle pets and songs for them. She’s a social butterfly with adults, and will dance around and smile effervescently as long as they notice, she loves to be silly and make everyone laugh. Unlike her brother, though, she doesn’t absorb everyone’s energy like a sponge, instead she tends to close up and keep it inside. While I never need to worry what is on Harry’s mind, (I have an entire post about my sweet sensitive and emotional little boy, click here to read it if you haven’t yet) Arabella can require some attention and patience to see what she’s thinking. As my mom says, Arabella marches to her own drummer. And if you choose to join her, great, but she won’t ask twice.
She sings to herself nearly the entire day, gentle little humming and sometimes a bird screech or two. Right now, I always know if she needs something, but I am aware of her tendency to close off and thus I make an effort to continue connecting. At this time in her life, she connects easily when I reach out to her, she giggles like nothing I’ve ever heard and loves to snuggle and play, but I could see that becoming an issue one day if I don’t continue my efforts. She is a child that if left to it, would watch her Veggietales and entertain herself alone for hours.
But I don’t want that. I love her beautiful imagination, her tender care of her playthings (my dad melted the other day as he watched her sing and rock her puppy), I just want to make sure she continues to invite me into this beautiful world in her head, that she feels safe to expose her little dreamer soul, to share her sparkles and songs.
I want her to know her dreams matter, I don’t ever want her to feel silly or embarrassed to share what’s in her head. Just as I want my son to know he is perfect and enough, I want her to know the same. To never feel pressured to change or feel that it is easier to slip away and hide. I want her to feel strong and confident, and never afraid to open up her heart, and when she is hurt to reach out and not hide away.
What parenting challenges have you discovered as your little ones personality progresses? How do you approach it?