She has always been my high-spirited child.
And, yes. That has always been our more politically-correct way of saying she’s all fire and ice.
From the moment she came into this world, she made her presence known. With a vengeance.
She was the tiny little bundle that screamed, almost non-stop, for the first four months of her life. The colic. The howls. The wails. It always shocked me how such a ruckus could come out of something so tiny.
And once the colic ended, another persona emerged. One that was equally as spirited.
We soon found that, as a toddler, her voice was just as strong. One minute, she could be the sweetest child you would ever meet. And in the blink of an eye, she became stubborn, willful, and impossibly obstinate. She was like a lot of toddlers, maybe. Except with the amplification turned up.
As she got older, we thought perhaps her mood swings would even themselves out. But they have not. If anything, they’ve become more pronounced. (A foreshadowing of what her teenage years will be, perhaps?)
As an almost-six-year-old, she still swings hot and cold at a pace that makes me dizzy. She loves ferociously, and throws temper tantrums with a passion that still surprises me.
But maybe it should not surprise me. Because I know where it comes from.
As much as I hate to admit it, she’s just like her momma.
I am stubborn. I love those around me ferociously, but I can also snap at them with a passion that is somewhat scary. Patience is once of the things I constantly have to work on. I have a quick temper and a sharp tongue, both of which often lead me to regret some of the things I say. It’s a trait I’ve always disliked in myself.
So, I cannot blame her for what she is. I know exactly where she gets it.
Would I change what she is? I can say, unequivocally, that even if I could, I would not.
Not in a million years.
She is my high-spirited child. And, difficult as that is sometimes, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But perhaps, one of the hardest lessons to-date that I am learning as a parent is this: part of loving her unconditionally might mean accepting in her the traits that I least like in her mother.
And, perhaps, that also means learning to embrace, accept and improve upon those same traits in myself.