Saturday, July 11, 2009

Things I did NOT do.

For a long time I worried about what kind of mother I would be. Specifically, how I would relate to a daughter. All the studies say that we learn parenting skills from our own parents. While I can easily say that many people out there had worse childhoods than I did, I still do not want to repeat history.
Earlier this week Girl Terror told me that sometimes after she is in bed, she reads her books. "Just a few pages, Mummy. Until I get sleepy." I understand. I loved reading in bed as a kid. I still love reading in bed! But.... it's dark. And she should be sleeping. I told her "Be sure you aren't hurting your eyes, and don't read for too long." I did NOT glue blackout boards to her window. I did NOT rip her book up. I hopefully did NOT discourage her from telling me what she does.
Today, we went to buy a reading lamp for her. Normally, we avoid anything with cartoon characters, pop singers, or TV personalities on it. She knows this, and it is not a problem. I explained once why I was against Bratz, and she has never asked for any of their products. I let her know that Hannah Montana isn't my favourite role model, and she looks longingly at the merchendise, but rarely asks for it. Today, she admired a Barbie night light. We came home with a dolphin shaped light that Hubby picked out. Long story short, the dolphin was hideous and didn't cast light, so she and I took it back. Without Hubby there to be strong, I knew the pink Barbie lamp would be like a siren.
Girl Terror and I wandered up and down the aisle. We saw modern crane lamps. We admired "antique" table lamps. And of course, we saw a pink Barbie lamp, and a pink Princess lamp. I took a few basic lamps, and told her to pick one. She couldn't. She wanted to know which one was my favourite. I wouldn't tell her, and she got truly upset. If I wouldn't tell her my favourite, then she couldn't pick one.
I remember being this child. I too was a people pleaser. My favourite color was whatever my mother's was. My favourite food, the same as Dad's. I never voiced an opinion for fear of being wrong. I do not want my child to be like me.
Girl Terror finally choose the lamp she was sure I liked. As we were walking toward the check-out, she told me all the reasons this was a good choice. It was practical. It would last a long time. Daddy would like it. I could see her convincing herself that it wasn't so bad, and I flashed back to shopping with my own mother.
We were shoe shopping. At my school, the dress code required skirts or dresses, and dress shoes. I wanted what every other teenage girl had...pretty dress shoes with a bit of a delicate heel. My mother chose burgundy leather, practical, no-nonsense, sensible shoes. The type nurses wear. They had thick rubber soles. They were hideous. I did NOT say a word. I wore them all through grade 11, and I hated every minute.
I wasn't allowed to have pretty, girly type things. I did NOT ask, because that would just show a weakness waiting to be exploited. I wore ugly shoes. I had practical clothes. I wasn't allowed to read in bed, but if I were, I bet my lamp would have been a basic, possibly second hand, stern black or grey metal lamp.
We went back to the lighting aisle. I put down Girl Terror's first choice, and picked up a pink Princess lamp. "I think I need a Princess lamp, okay?" She looked up at me. "Oh, Mummy!! I think you need it too! And I can use it, okay?!" She hugged me. She beamed at me. She proudly carried her new lamp to the check-out, and it is now next to her bed.
Today, I did NOT repeat the mistakes from my childhood. Instead, I let my daughter be a little girl, and I was her beloved Mummy.


koreen (aka: winn) said...

Good for you. You did for all the right reasons. =D

Anonymous said...

Its amazing what 1 princess lamp can do for a Mommy's journey to let go of her past!! I'm so proud of you and I can picture your little girl bouncing and beaming on her way to the check out!

wendy said...

ahhh yes, this is the exact reason why I've agreed to some charachter purchases as well!
although I have to say I'm still with you on bratz ;)

Fawn said...

Just catching up after three weeks of being offline. Tears in my eyes. Damn, you're good.