We create our children in so many ways from the way we talk, act, behave with others, eat and every single thing we do. Sometimes the responsibility of it all weighs me down but usually it helps me see how I get created as well. Watching it all is an amazing process. I didn’t even notice half of the stuff until I started writing this post.
Here it is though, just some of the identities I am helping my two-year-old daughter adopt:
1. Helpful – I spill some water on the floor, Mersina rushes to the mop and comes back to help me clean up. “Thank you very much, you are very helpful to me.”
2. Beautiful – “You are so beautiful,” times a billion.
3. Nice – She gives me a kiss and a hug. “Thank you, you are such a nice person.”
4. Clever – She counts, she repeats, she writes M, she identifies letters – numbers – animals – past visits: “You are so clever! A genius!” She loves jigsaws.
5. Athletically proficient – She runs for ages when she can and this weekend I bought her her first pair of trainers: running – “You’re so fast! You’re such a great runner. She’s been running for ages, such a great climber.”
6. Angry – I try to let her be okay about getting angry. Anger gives you energy and it can also cause you to be hurtful. I don’t have a problem with her getting angry about things but it can slow us down which may cause her to see impatience come up in response to her anger. Anger isn’t one of our usual emotions so I’m finding it hard to think of examples.
7. Creative – I encourage drawing and let her pick any colours and shades she likes. She is allowed to use most types of paper that aren’t necessary. I let her choose the colours for her online drawing and sometimes she wants the whole picture to be the same colour. That’s fine. She makes up stories about her froggies.
8. Sad – I don’t like her to be sad so it’s harder for me to not interfere to shake her out of it or distract her with something. When she was a little younger she started practising being sad by coming up to us with her head down and just standing there. I would rush to her to find out what was going on and she would look up with a big grin at having fooled us or at being successfully sad. That’s fine.
9. Happy – “she was born smiling”, “she’s such a happy baby”, “she’s so funny”. She does smile a lot. When I look back to pictures of me from when I was small and even now, my first response is not to smile. Her father is more likely to be smiling. Does smiling mean happiness? I don’t know.
10. Social – she seems to enjoy the company of other children. Whenever she sees another little person she gets excited and says “hello!”. I have yet to see many (any?) other little people say hello back. When she was all about “chasey” she would see another little person and run away from them hoping they would follow. That was so cute.
All the activities she does are natural and come from her. The labels and identities arise from our reactions and cues as to how acceptable they all are. Some I would like to cultivate are mindfulness, perseverance and the ability to express herself. For now I’m trying to notice as much as possible. Communicating her feelings is the most important one, in my opinion.