A lesson from my 5-year-old
It’s Wacky Wednesday at Cheerleading Camp! I’m so excited to help my newly 5-year-old daughter decide what to wear and how to do her hair so she can be wacky!
Reality smacks me
I don’t like Wacky Wednesday Mom. “What? Why not? How do you know you don’t like Wacky Wednesday?” I ask her. Her response again had me questioning so much about life and how we raise our children. “The last time I did Wacky Wednesday two girls laughed at me. I’m not doing Wacky Wednesday again, Mom.”
Whew….there are many times where we feel like we are first-time parents setting sail in uncharted territories. Our son is 9 and has tuberous sclerosis, epilepsy and autism. There have been many times where we are thankful he can be so oblivious to things and people around him. A neurotypical 5-year-old daughter is not so oblivious and many times has a heightened awareness….we are starting to sail in uncharted territories that are elevating our parenting skills also.
Oh honey, everyone is dressed Wacky on Wacky Wednesday, the girls aren’t laughing at you, and everyone is dressed funny so it’s a fun day to giggle and see everyone let loose and be a little crazy for a day. Her response: Mom, they aren’t laughing at themselves, they were laughing and pointing at me and that’s not nice. Well she’s right, it’s not nice to point and laugh at someone.
So I try, I’m sure they thought you were dressed really fun for the day and pointing it out to each other. Mom, they told me I looked stupid. Well, it’s Wacky Wednesday girl, everyone looked a little silly. Mom, it’s not nice to tell people they look stupid….right again.
What I learned from my kid?
Now I’m sure some of you are thinking she’s 5, come on. You’re right she’s 5, she’s at times blown things out of proportion and at times has not quite gotten the story right. But at this moment, I realize that she is quite aware of the perceptions of other kids. Our neurotypical 5-year-old daughter at this moment feels like she can’t participate in an activity for fear other kids will make fun of her.
This then led me quickly down some past conversations in my mind hoping to draw a reference for her. Oh…remember last week when a gal we met had many tattoos and piercings and we talked about how wonderful it was that this gal could express her individual style and felt comfortable in doing so? And remember the little girl in the wheelchair at your brother’s therapy who communicated with an iPad? Remember how cool it was that you were able to ask her and her mom questions about her wheelchair and how she was really very similar to you but communicated in her own way?
Celebrating and Accepting
Yes…to both of these answers, yes! These are two examples of people where we celebrated people for their uniqueness and were grateful for them being who they were as people! We know that it isn’t nice, polite, or correct to laugh and point at any. What we do know is that it is great to celebrate who each person is as a human, as she likes to call us. Instead of pointing, we applaud them and compliment them for expressing who they really are.
For Wacky Wednesday I want you to be as wacky as you care to be, show up, and be proud of yourself for expressing who you are. You be you and compliment others on being who they want to be and accept them as they are. And when you see other kids laughing and pointing, remember that sometimes all it takes is a simple complement celebrating who they are as an individual to help another person see the goodness also.
My continued hope is that we as parents can pinkie promise to teach our children to love, accept and celebrate each other. My hope is every child can be and feel as wacky as they want to be anytime, learn to redefine normal, celebrate everyone and live life loving it!
Life experiences that taught a lesson
We can learn lessons from any age. Today it was a lesson from my 5-year-old. Will you take this lesson from my 5-year-old into account too? I know I will!
How do we deal with this? Do we move forward? How do we adjust expectations? Most importantly, how do we redefine normal so our lives are filled with joy?