alternate title: helping my kids figure out who they are and being thrilled about it anyway.
there is a pretty long list of things that worry me about my kids: testimony, illness, education, peer acceptance, being a spineless sheep, pornography, quick sand, coyotes living in the woods by our house, my kid's fears. there are few things i'm NOT worried about. worries are an encyclopedia brittanica. non-worries are a leaflet flyer.
one thing that has been rolling around in my head on a constant loop for a while now is figuring out how to help my children figure out who they are and be completely happy with it.
scarlett is so like me in so many ways. i revel in that knowledge and fear for her at the same time. my public school years were difficult for me because i knew i wasn't "cool" and that i didn't wear the "right" clothes(and i didn't really want to) and while i liked myself, i wasn't confident in myself. i was SHY! and scarlett is SHY! and i hate that because i don't want her to miss out on things because she's shy. i STILL hate thinking about how nervous i would get before going to birthday parties or playdates when i wouldn't know everyone or anyone. everything worked out fine because now at 33, i probably like myself too much and should probably dial my personality back a bit in mixed company, simply so that i don't overwhelm other children. i fear those same years will be hard for scarlett because she's delightfully weird and imaginative and quirky and we live in a society of trendy followers who claim to celebrate diversity, but only if you are "diverse" like everyone else.
what's the trick navigating to your children's anxieties but avoiding giving them the impression that they can do no wrong? i don't know! i don't know ANYTHING! 3+4=9. see what i mean!
this morning was great moment for me though. we were running out the door to church(ACTUALLY ON TIME, but that's not the climax of this story) and as we were loading up, scarlett grabbed this floral belt from one of her other dresses and tied it on her head. my gut/boring/mom reaction was to tell her to take it off, the other part of me who is not afraid of harmless self-expression loved it and i tightened it up for her.
and now she really can do no wrong!
reagan's idiosyncrasies are even more interesting for me to decipher. because he's not a communicative, i find it's harder to figure out who he is. the good thing is that he is pretty solid in liking himself and doesn't care about what others think. a great thing to achieve at an early age.
reagan's latest obsession is of the gravity-defying, equine variety
he's pretty keen on her. as evidenced by the above picture, rainbow dash has seen a lot of action.
we've never done anything to promote anything being specifically "boy" oriented or "girl" oriented. we simply don't care. kids like what they like. reagan and scarlett are close enough in age that they've shared almost all their toys. the really interesting thing about reagan is he's formed some of his own opinions about what gender can use what. reagan won't even eat off a pink plate and vehemently exclaims that the pink princess barbie cup is for "girls only". so, the constant presence of rainbow dash in our lives does surprise me, as my little pony was first something scarlett liked and involves a LOT of pink and has predominantly female ponies. upon further research, reagan is not alone. apparently there is an entire movement of "bronies"(a portmanteau of "bro" and "pony")who appreciate My Little Pony for it's "strong characters, cross-generational appeal, cultural references, the show's expressive Flash-based animation, and the ability for the showrunners to communicate and reciprocate with the fandom, such as including fan-derived elements within the show.[Hasbro was initially caught off-guard by this surprise demographic but have since come to embrace it, leveraging licensing deals to market clothes, media, and other merchandise beyond toys to the older audience.[".
any show that encourages kids to be themselves, enjoy reading(which reagan deplores) and has a nearly spot on episode inspired by Top Gun, i'm a fan of too.
is that not Viper from Top Gun in my little pony form?
I'll admit that this hasn't been my favorite thing for him to like because i do worry that other kids will think it's too girly and bully him about it. i don't want to see my kid picked on because i'm afraid my reaction will be ugly and borderline criminal. but, if reagan's not bothered, i won't be either. i'll just find something else on the list to worry about. like the national debt and whether disability benefits will be available to him. see, there's the cloud to the silver lining!
and then sweet little blythe who likes to disrobe in any store we go to with clothing on display. a bit of an exhibitionist. always up for a strip down. this is one thing i'd like her to grow out of, just for propriety's sake. she looks like she auditioning for disney channel.