The book I came to choose seemed to fit my child in title only (so much for "don't judge a book by its cover) "Raising Your Spirited Child." Carly is often times described as a "firework" or "ball of energy." So, "spirited" seemed to fit right in. I got 27 pages into it when I learned something relieving and disturbing. Carly was not, by definition of this author, spirited (relieving). She is a normal child (disturbing).
What was disturbing to me was having my mother tell me on Sunday that Carly is "not too different from her mother." Here, all my life, I had been brainwashed to believe I was the "perfect child." I believed I never caused my mother any heartache or pain and that I was happy, peaceful, cute, squishy and agreeable. Or in one word PERFECT. I now, at the age of 31, know that I was not perfect.
Isn't my mother amazing, being able to string me along for all of these years boosting my confidence by allowing me to feel like I was such an easy child. She recently confessed an experience from my early-childhood where I was being stubborn one morning and got mad at her when she put sugar on my cereal and in one of her rare moments of frustration (see, my mom is still perfect in my eyes) she told me that I was an "ugly, ugly child." It still haunts her and she still feels bad for saying that. I do not recall the experience. I was not scarred (therefore giving me hope that I have not yet scarred my children).
The truthful stories of me as a rotten, snot-nosed child rear their ugly little heads each time I share with my mother a scene from the day before that I had suffered through with Carly (or Abi...but never Connor or Dakota). Like the time I cut my hair, or ran down a busy street, or re-arranged the furniture in a neighbors house or didn't deliver the newspapers on my route to the houses but instead the dumpster.
I got what I was. I have been told that I was a normal child. (If that is normal, then what is Connor?)
The relief came when I realized that Carly is "normal" and that like every other child, you have to fish around and experiment with different methods of communication and discipline. All parents know that "what works for one child probably won't work for another." And the ever so popular "it's a phase" phrase comes in to play quite often when speaking with other parents who have waded through these murky waters.
Each of the kids faces and body language captures their personalities perfectly in this picture!
So I dedicate this post to all of those parents who have had to face the challenge of discovering different communication and discipline techniques with their own offspring. As well, I plead with you to share with me what worked best for you when your super-duper-happy-as-a-clam-silly-as-a-goose-carefree-as-a-bird child acted like a three year old and didn't listen or obey.