Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I'm Okay With Raising A Strong Girl & A Soft Boy

I'm relatively new to this parenting gig. I have an 8-year-old stepson, but he doesn't spend a lot of time with us and has been fed some pretty hurtful things about me since I came into the picture. So, being a full-time parent has only been a hat I've worn for almost 3 years now. My oldest, Girl Child (GC), will be three soon, and the youngest, Boy Child (BC), is about a year and a half old.

I received all kinds of warnings from fellow parents: baby-proof the house, forget ever sleeping again, cut grapes into insanely tiny pieces. When I announced I was unexpectedly pregnant with BC,  I received even more advice. Having two kids less than 18 months apart from each other sends some people into a tizzy and dredges up repressed memories in others of when their children were young and so close in age. Despite both the fantastic and shitty advice I received, one thing no one could have prepared me for is how dramatically different my kids would be.

GC is a firecracker and incredibly independent. My parents tell me that she reminds them of me: stubborn, determined, and independent. She must do everything herself and becomes irate with me if I have the audacity to help her. She is a fighter, and I mean that in good and bad ways. She will fight fiercely with anyone who tries to bend her to their will. Bath time when she's not ready? Nope. Eating something she doesn't want to eat? Might as well throw it on the ground. That's where it's going to end up anyway.

People tell me that I need to reign her in and force her to submit to our rules or else she's going to end up in prison or something. Sorry, but if GC ends up in prison, I'm pretty sure she'll be leading a prison gang by the end of Day 1. I can't bring myself to try to "break" her spirit. When I look at her, I see so much strength. I see a little girl who will become a fierce woman. And I love it! She's not going to be pushed into a situation she doesn't want to be in. She's not going to be bullied or hurt by someone who isn't worth her time. And the way she loves her brother shows me that she's going to stand up for people who might not be able to stand up for themselves.

BC is my sweet one. He is such a mama's boy and I'm not ashamed of that! He loves to be near me and in my lap. Whenever he sees me, he lights up in such a way that makes me want to quit my job and just cuddle him all day. When we put GC in timeout, he cries alligator tears because his sister is in trouble. People tell me that I need to stop nursing him, or put him down and force him to walk more, or else he's going to be stunted in his growth and development. Again, I say no. I can't do that. When he comes to me and pats my chest or pulls my shirt out, I know he wants to nurse. He eats full meals and real food now, but sometimes he just wants one-on-one nursing time. And sometimes I need that time with him. I am his safe place. He knows that when he is in my lap cuddling and nursing, he is my focus and completely safe. Why would I ever want my child to NOT feel that? When he has a physical reaction to GC being punished, I know that he, like his sister, is going to stand up for people who are being mistreated. When he hugs my legs and hides behind me around new people, I see him being wary of people and knowing who and what to trust fully.

Having two kids who are so close in age is not easy. It's definitely adding gray to my hair! But I love watching these two little people grow into their own and seeing their personalities blossom. I love that I am tasked with teaching them how to navigate this crazy world. I joke that I can see my kids either running a Fortune 500 company or running a prison gang, but it's true. The two of them working together have the power and ability to change the world! The world better be prepared for my littles!

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