Lifeguards and Heroes

I sometimes am worried about Gal Smiley being a tomboy, just because anything that makes your kid a bit different opens them up to feeling a bit different and who knows if a kid is going to dig their uniqueness or mope around feeling like an outsider. But on the plus side, there’s this:

Little Miss holds an Ariel doll; Gal Smiley has an action figure. They are pretending their toys are lifeguards.

Little Miss: Is yours a boy?

Gal Smiley: Yes.

Little Miss: Let’s pretend that he likes my girl, he likes her because her hair is very long and swishes all around her head.

Gal Smiley: NO, he likes her because she is a lifeguard and a hero.

Aw, I’m a great parent and a crappy parent simultaneously!

It’s overheard conversations like this that make me feel like there’s not much I can do to shape their personalities. They are who they are – obviously, having the exact same set of parents in the exact same household has resulted in two very different little girls, each with their own ideas and values.

Once when I was a teen, I asked my aunt how it was that she had gotten two such amazing little kids in my two younger cousins. I was shocked, SHOCKED, when she shrugged and said she really didn’t know. Surely she must have some tips, some secrets to share? Nothing?

Turns out, it really does feel as much of a crapshoot as my aunt implied.

Rather than complaining, though, this randomness really makes me relax. If I can’t do much one way or the other to mold them – then I can just kick back and get to know them.

Oh man, now I’m a lazy parent as well!

10 thoughts on “Lifeguards and Heroes

  1. Hah, awesome! Amazing how different they are, eh? Having one daughter that sees value in wonderful swooshing hair doesn’t make you a crappy parent! You’re a wonderful parent, and the ‘my children will develop their own personalities regardless of me’ seems to be a pretty good philosophy. We can certainly help shape them in terms of societal expectations and interactions (ie. manners!) but not so much in terms of personality. 😉

  2. As a scientist, it’s hard for me to think that I have to just let things be, rather than worrying about every variable and making sure it’s all just right. It’s cool that you have two and can see how different they are. Then it’s clearly not something you’re doing 🙂

  3. It’s SO true. My Mom just the other day was saying what a good job I’d done because my kids were so great, and while it was nice of her, I just don’t think it’s true – you get what you get and there’s not a lot you can do to sway things much in one direction or the other. I read a blog post about this just the other day, referencing two other blog posts, and my comment was that a lot of really painful schisms between parents and children could probably be avoided if parents realized that their children are not necessarily going to be exactly – or even remotely – like them, and it’s not a parent’s job to fight to make sure that they are.

  4. nadinethornhill

    I feel EXACTLY the same way!

    I was discussing The Green Bean with my therapist the other day and she made a strange, yet apt analogy about parenting. She said that our children are boats and we are a river. The river carries a boat along, guides it, influences it’s direction. Hopefully, the river can bring the boat to larger water, safely and in tact. But one thing river can’t ever do is change the boat and make it something else.

    What makes you the best kind of parent, in my opinion, is that you love your children enough to let them be exactly who they are.

  5. I find this particularly hard when I have to deal with my middle boy who is impatient and quick to anger. It is just who he is and I have to accept that but I always feel like I can teach these behaviours out of him. I am going to have to settle for teaching him how to manage his frustrations and temper his outbursts 😦

  6. I am the mother of two girls who could not be any more different if someone tried to design them that way. My philosophy is to love them, feed them, and keep them clean-ish and then they will take care of the rest.

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