My daughter’s strength astonishes me. I’m not putting her down, I’m proud of her, but I also know that she can be shy. If you’ve been following my posts for some time now, you will know that she was the child who cried her little eyes out and desperately clung to me, for two whole weeks straight when she first started school last year. She cried as if her little heart was breaking, as if I was going to leave her for good. To be fair though, she cried and clutched, but would let go after, and would be led crying inside by her teacher.
For any parent who has school age children, and have gone through this, will know how difficult it was. How we questioned ourselves as parents. It was heartbreaking. I thought that I had made the wrong decision about sending her early. She just turned four you see, two weeks just before school started. She could’ve stayed another year at home had we wanted. But I thought she was ready, but those two weeks, made me feel like I had failed her. Yes, it’s true after a while, she was fine. But those two weeks was one of the worst weeks of my life as a mother.
She also started her gymnastics lessons last year. And during her first day, I braced myself for a repeat performance of what she was like when she started school (this was months after), but surprisingly there were no tears, though she nervously chewed on her sleeve that first day, she came home with a very wet one, but with a big smile on her face. She knew she did well.
She’s changed a lot. She’s still shy. It takes awhile for her to warm-up with strangers or in a new situation, but her strength as a person really is admirable for someone so young. As an adult, I am learning so much from my five-year-old daughter:
1. Always Have A-Go: Be Brave
No matter what it is, especially if it’s something new and even though it’s a bit scary, little T will always give it a try. She’ll look at us a bit nervous and say “I’ll have a go mum”. We’ll ask “Are you sure?” She’ll nod her head quietly and I too try to be brave for her, even though in reality all I want to do is cuddle her and say “Oh it’s fine. You don’t have to do it!” Instead I bite my lip and take her lead.
I’ve already written about how she volunteered to read in front of a large group of people during a school activity and how she helped a friend who got stuck and couldn’t read the words on her paper. Some her friends may appear more confident than her, but when push comes to shove and put on spotlight, they crumble and cry. But not little T, who will always have a-go.
2. Never Give Up
Little T had some friends from school who joined her in her gymnastics class every Friday. These kids were seemingly more confident than her, but in the end, they gave it up, which was a shame because they seemed really keen, but seemed too scared, too uncertain with the big groups of kids in the class. Not little T though, she would always stand shyly (and she’s also one of the youngest, not to mention shortest!) amongst her team-mates, but no matter what, come Friday, you would expect to see her there, standing with them.
3. Stand-up for Yourself
She knows how to hold her corner. Whilst my daughter isn’t the shortest in her class (there’s another lovely little boy who is the same size as her), she won’t back off if someone puts her down. Her teacher told us that she is vocal about her feelings and is not afraid to state her opinion, even if she has to raise her voice among all the bigger children in school.
4. Stop Worrying
As parents, we are all worriers, aren’t we? We worry about the smallest little thing and my daughter is the one who patiently calms my fears down by saying “It’s all right mum. It doesn’t matter” she’ll say, or “It’s going to be fine”. I wonder sometimes, when did she become this wise?
My daughter has taught me to trust her, even though she is only five. Most times I want to hide her away in my little bubble and not let her try anything new, or anything that she’s nervous about. In her own little way, she lets me know that I can trust her. Trust that she’ll be in her best behaviour when out on play-dates with her friends in their house. Parents have commended her with her lovely manners. She doesn’t forget to say “No thank you, yes please” And thank the person for the lovely meal they’ve prepared.
She’s not perfect by any means. No one is. She has her meltdowns too, especially when she’s tired and can be really grumpy after school. But hey, she’s five right?
When she’s old enough, I know it will be difficult for me to let her go on her own, to allow her to experience everything life has to offer. I know it will break my heart, but once again, I’ll take my cue from her. I’ll stand by the doorway and wave her off, but I’ll make sure that I’m also there to welcome her back home.
For those who have children, what are the lessons you’ve learned from them?
Or what was the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in life?