If it's not Baroque......don't fix it!
--Cogsworth, Beauty and the BeastI read There Is Not Always a Fix For the Difficult Child on Mothering.com today.
My daughter Cookie is one of those kids the article refers to. A baby who was "fussy," "high needs," "colicky" who grew into a "spirited" and "strong-willed" and "difficult" toddler and preschooler. She is energetic and impulsive and imaginative and persistent. She's simply "more."
The post says:
You know what I think though? I don't think there is anything WRONG with this girl. I don't think she can or needs to be "fixed" with an adjustment or a diet change or magical technique. I think she is just kind of....hard.
And, I am not afraid to admit it.
I could make up excuses for my child. I could blame it on something that is beyond our control. Or I could try to control the situation in every way possible. I think that I could successfully drive myself batty doing so.I could also just admit the simple yet difficult truth of the matter: some babies, children and human beings are harder. Or more intense. Or more sensitive. Or if you are lucky, they are all three.
But it seems to me that sometimes nobody wants to do this. We would much rather find an excuse, a reason, an explanation. I think it takes some of the blame off of the kid, and it makes us feel like we have a little more control over our lives than we actually do. If we can just figure out the cause, then we could fix them!!!!
|I love this girl. She is delightful and a handful all at once.|
This is very hard to talk about and admit. But, here goes. The terrible truth is that as much as I love her, there are still times, times when she's not behaving as I expect or protesting loudly against some limit I've set, that I don't like my daughter. There are times that I'm even ashamed of her and wish she would be more "normal."
I've not said it in so many words aloud but she's very perceptive. I'm sure I've communicated it to her nonetheless through my body language and attitudes. That is horrible. It should not be. When he gets particularly frustrated with her, my husband has said "There's something wrong with her" and I've often wondered if he is right.
As a result, instead of accepting her for who she is, I've been trying to "fix" her, primarily with diet changes.
On the way I've learned a few things. She does seem calmer without dairy in her system. She does seem to tolerate frustration and control her impulses better when she hasn't consumed gluten or food dye. Or rather, when we slip up, I notice that she is even MORE impulsive and easily frustrated than what is normal for her.
And yet, she is still "spirited" "strong willed" and "difficult." She still moves more than many other kids her age. She still has a big imagination and big feelings and big ideas and a driving need to test every boundary. I realize that much of that is just her personality and much of that is just her age and immaturity. After all, she has only been alive on this planet for four years and seven months, and maybe I expect too much from her.
We recently discovered that she has pinworms and are treating that, but it hasn't made the dramatic difference in behavior or sleep or nighttime dryness that I've heard it made for others.
She may need more sleep. She may need more structure. She may need ... what? What is the magic cure? Is there one? Does she even need a cure? Why do I continue to think that there is there anything "wrong" with my daughter?
What would it be like to decide that there isn't anything wrong and to choose to stop looking for ways to "fix" her? To just admit that she is harder to parent than some kids and step up my game?
Which brings me to the terrible anxiety the second half of the Mothering.com article brought up. Maybe it's something wrong with my parenting that is making her this way ...