Parenting With My Eyes Wide Open

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I’m sitting in the waiting room of a child educational therapist’s office, waiting for my daughter to complete her evaluation.  I am writing this blog with no shame, only faith and commitment to giving my children the best possible life. Lots of people turn up their nose at therapy; I, on the other hand, am a professional patient.

My 9-year-old has “middle child syndrome.” Whether that’s a real thing or not, she is my one very sensitive child who needs more love than she gets. It’s such a sad issue for me, and one that’s loaded with guilt. While I am ALWAYS there for the important big stuff, it’s the little things that I wish I could do more of with her. My little ones, at ages three and four years old, seem to hog most of the attention at home. I always tell my daughter that I did the same exact things for her when she was that age and assure her that there is never favoritism. But still, when you are a lonely kid in need, there’s really nothing but more attention or stimulation that can help.  I was that kid, so I know it very well. 

In the past year, I have watched my daughter struggle with stuff that a nine year old shouldn’t have to worry about.  Schoolwork is too hard (in my opinion), dinnertime is an ordeal, she and her sister are constantly battling, night-time is scary, etc. That all probably sounds like pretty normal stuff, but I am paying close attention, and I see my kid worrying all the time, resisting change, finding it hard to try new things and constantly being overshadowed by her super-star athlete, straight A student big sister. It feels like dangerous ground, and the start of some possible complexes.

So I am putting in some important time to make sure she is equipped to learn properly, and mentally confident enough to conquer her own unique path.  I really don’t care much about raising brilliant honor-roll future Ivy Leaguer.  What I care about is raising happy, healthy, confident, brave, accomplished children – in whatever area they are passionate about.  I want my kids to succeed to the best of their abilities, and they all have very different strengths.  I have learned that sometimes as busy parents we may miss the little signs that show us if something needs to be adjusted.  In my family’s case, my kids each have different needs and if I am going to help them be the best they can be, I need to know what those individual needs are. I’m hoping today’s appointment will shed some light on just that and teach us about how to best work with my daughter’s strengths and understand and support her weaknesses.

My daughter asks me often for one-on-one time… and every working mom knows the importance and challenge of that request.  I truly try to connect one-on-one with all of my kids, although on most days that feels impossible.  Tonight we are going on a very special mommy daughter date to one of our favorite restaurants. Thank God for David, who is at home having his own special dinner with the other kids.  He’s such an amazing father and partner!

I know I am good at the big mommy moments, but it’s the little ones with some of my kids that mean the most.  Tonight is one of those special times that she and I will cherish.  Our favorite white Tartuffe chocolate-covered ice cream won’t be too bad either!!!

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