Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My beautiful baby girl....

Why do mother/daughter relationships have to be so complicated? My daughter is not yet four years old and already I am envisioning a lifetime of struggles. Don't get me wrong...I adore my daughter. She is my heart and soul. However, we have our "issues." My family was discussing our issues at the Mother's Day brunch at my house on Sunday. Apparently, it is obvious to everyone that we butt heads. I think our problem stems from the two of us being so much alike....a fact that my family seems to agree with wholeheartedly. What do I do with a mini-me? How do I separate my beautiful little girl from my own issues? I look at her and I see all of the things about myself that make me insecure. Looking at her is like looking into the face of my own vulnerabilities. She is so much like I was as a child. I can look into her eyes and know exactly what she is thinking. I was a painfully shy child, and I see Sophie being the same way. I see her withdrawing from social situations. I see her shyness impeding her from playing with other kids. I see the struggle on her face between wanting to join in and being terrorized into non-movement by the mere thought of it. I know what she is going through. I can feel her pain in every cell of my body.

To compensate for her social shyness, Sophie is a complete hellion at home. She is controlling...a "Bossy Betty" to say the least. She is stubborn. She wants what she wants when she wants it. She is demanding and downright hateful at times. I know why she is this way. I know she is overcompensating at home for the out-of-control feelings she experiences in social situations. She is trying to take as much control as possible at home, where she feels comfortable and safe. I was the same way at home when I was a kid. Just ask my sisters....I was nothing short of a bitch as a kid. Being the oldest made it even worse. However, knowing why Sophie acts the way she does does not make it any easier to handle. It kills me to see her that way. I want to change her. I don't want her to struggle. I don't want her to feel that pain. However, you can't change a child....and in attempting to, I would only be giving her the message that there is something inherently "wrong" with the way she is. That is not a message I want to convey to my beautiful baby girl.

Ruanita has a special way of charming Sophie. She can get Sophie to do things that I cannot. I guess years and years of practice "handling" me have paid off. The same tactics apparently work on Sophie. Ruanita is the Sophie-whisperer. She somehow allows Sophie to just "be" without placing any expectations on her. I can't describe it exactly, but they definitely have a special rapport. As for me...I just find myself getting frustrated with Sophie. I can handle the boys beautifully. With Lucas, I can appeal to his sense of reason...to a certain extent. And when all else fails, humor wins Lucas over every time. With Nicholas, a calm voice and few cuddles go a long way. A kiss from momma can heal all of Nicky's wounds. Sophie, on the other hand doesn't respond to reason. Attempts at humor just piss her off. She doesn't respond to cuddling and kisses. She doesn't respond to any of my attempts at "handling" her. Sophie is pure, raw emotion. She is a wildfire that can't be easily contained and I readily admit to being incapable of dealing with her at times. I hate that I don't have Ruanita's patience with her. She pushes my buttons in a way the boys do not. She seems to instinctively know exactly what to do to make me crazy. Then again, perhaps I am giving her too much credit. Perhaps she has no clue what she is doing. Perhaps...just maybe...she isn't really trying to drive me crazy. She is just being a little girl...dealing with the big, confusing world in the best way she knows how. Unfortunately, it's the exact same way that I dealt with the world as a child.

While there are times I am thrilled that Sophie and I are so much alike....like when she grins ear to ear and proudly announces that the "S Girls" are the coolest....I want Sophie to avoid all of the mistakes and pitfalls that I forged into headfirst. I don't want her to repeat my mistakes. I don't want her to be plagued with self-doubt and insecurity. At the same time, however, I realize that I am probably too hard on her. I expect more from her than I do from the boys. Perhaps because I expect so much of myself? But that's no excuse. I need to treat her as her own person. I need to realize that she will make her own mistakes. I need to allow her to make those mistakes. No one warned me that this parenthood thing would be so difficult. The love that I have for my daughter is all-encompassing. And let me tell you.... love that intense is no picnic.

Why do mother/daughter relationships have to be so complicated?


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