My dear Kitten has always been the child that keeps me on my parenting toes. She learned to climb the stairs at 9 months, walked at 10 months, and was climbing the kitchen counters (I’m not kidding) at a year. Every time I think I’ve got that kid figured out she goes and changes things up on me. I love her independent, adventurous spirit so much, but goodness, it’s tough to parent. Did I mention this beautiful girl is also in the throws of being 3 at me? This morning was another lesson in the life of being Kitten’s mom.
I pick out the girls clothes every night before bed. Lovey will approve my selection or pick out her own thing if she doesn’t like my choice. (I appreciate the fact that my 6 year old daughter still lets me pick out her clothes and know that it will end soon. I’m gonna ride that wave for as long as I can though.) I usually ask Kitten what she’d like to wear and plan accordingly. Typically it’s all dresses all the time. Based on the forecast I picked out warm fleecey pants and a tunic shirt for Kitten for today. When I brought her the clothes she was not amused. “This is a dress not a shirt” she said. Then she told me she didn’t like the pants. Basically, I suck as a wardrobe stylist and she wanted a do-over (at least that’s how I felt). I was busy getting ready and so I casually said “If you don’t like the clothes mommy picks out you can start picking out your own clothes”. Well wouldn’t you know my big girl hopped off the bed and marched into her room. She came back a few minutes later with a shirt, a skirt, and leggings and proceeded to undress. Her outfit looked like something straight out of Pippy Longstocking’s closet. Flabbergasted I told her she couldn’t change and had to wear the clothes mommy picked out. There is no logic in this statement at all by the way. Honey was getting ready to leave and Kitten wanted to go downstairs with him so I told her she could only go downstairs if she changed into the clothes mommy picked out. Again, no logic and actually a really poor move on my part. Tantrum ensues. Honey realizing he is already late concedes defeat and leaves me to deal with the aftermath of my poor decision. Watching Kitten cry on my bedroom floor shocked me into acknowledging the problem. I am the problem.
My daughter has developed her own personality that brings with it individual wants and needs. In that moment I was forcing her to bend to my wants and needs and she wouldn’t have it. I looked at her and realized that she has every right to wear what she wants to wear (as long as it’s seasonally and school appropriate) even if I don’t approve. She also should have been acknowledged for her independence in picking out her own clothes and putting them on by herself.
I recovered from my error and told her she could wear what she picked out to school if she wanted to and told her I was proud of her for doing it all on her own. She beamed. Later I told her that next time she and mommy can pick out the clothes together so we find something that matches. Her response, “but mommy, I didn’t want to match today”.
There it is folks: schooled by a 3 year old. If you need me I’ll be off in a corner reminding myself never to mess with a strong-willed, independent woman even if she’s my kid. She is teaching me how to be a better person and a better parent every day, I just have to let her.