I think I’m a pretty good mom. I think I do my best to build Avery up, so she knows that she is smart, and funny, strong, and kind. I think I tell her that she is wonderful, and all I’ve ever wanted. I tell her how much I love her.
I’m also doing something wrong.
I’ve started noticing that people think it’s ok to talk about Avery as being “the grumpy kid” or “an angry girl” or “always cranky” they have said or implied that she is “Challenging” or that I am “in trouble” I’ve even overheard people ask “Is this kid ever happy?”
It is bothering me, a lot.
Because she is listening.
By not defending her, and instead laughing it off, or just agreeing that “Yeah, she’s tough.” I’ve granted people permission to think and say these things.
At her birthday party, she was unhappy. Instead of just saying “It’s all really overwhelming for her.” I said “She’s being a grump today”
Instead of saying “She has trouble when she feels like everyone is watching her.” I said “I don’t know what her deal is, who doesn’t like parties?”
And I let people say those things, and I agreed with them.
That’s not ok.
Because she is listening.
I know she is listening because she has told me. The other day she kept saying that she was a “bad girl” and she has told me often “I’m just a grumpy girl” or “I’m not a nice girl”
She’s three and already taking a hit to her self esteem.
She is listening and I need to change what she is hearing.
I don’t want people to think of Avery as being anything other than a sweet, smart, caring, funny, wonderful girl. And I absolutely can’t let Avery think of herself as anything less than incredible.
I want them to think of the girl who cried at the zoo the other day because one of the Tree Kangaroos was in an enclosure alone, and “He looks so lonely, why isn’t he with his family? He misses his family! We have to help him find them!”
The girl who asked me to “Please pick up that ant, so nobody steps on him, PLEASE!”
The girl who tells me every day that I am beautiful and that she loves my beautiful hair.
The girl who always saves a few bites of her snack so we can feed them to the “Eagulls” in the parking lot.
The girl who cried in the car yesterday because we went to Ikea instead of New York, to deliver candy to her godfather who had just broken his wrist (Because, “We have to bring him candy!! Candy will help! Candy always helps fix boo-boos!”)
The girl who told me “Mommy, I just have a really big heart!”
Avery does have her grumpy moments, we ALL do. She can be a challenge, she’s three! She can be exhausting, again, aren’t all toddlers?
She’s also such a wonderful little girl who gets her feelings hurt when people aren’t nice to her. She is smart, and would spend all day, every day, building towers with legos and reading her books. She’s incredibly funny and clever and sometimes brings me to tears with the things she says. She’s compassionate and caring. And wonderful, and amazing, and I love her, even when she is sassy, or grumpy, or tough.
And, she is a girl who is paying attention to EVERYTHING that happens around her and hears what everyone says.
She’s listening, and I need to make sure that what she hears about herself is positive.