By: Brandy Black
Susan and I were called into the Principal’s office –ok, the director’s office of Sophia’s preschool. Our daughter had been having some meltdowns in class. I couldn’t help but get defensive upon hearing about this “meeting” to discuss how we are handling things at home. A flood of insecurities raced through my head, someone has finally figured out that we have no idea what we’re doing and now we’ve ruined our daughter for good. Do we give her too much attention? Spoil her? Are we not having enough play-dates? Why AGAIN have I not been reading enough books about toddlers? I then went to that dark place –what is the teacher doing? Maybe she’s not handling this right? Maybe Sophia walks all over her because she CAN. I played out every scenario in my mind before I even sat down on the couch of the cozy little office of my daughter’s school. Once I got there, I was determined to simply listen carefully to what they had to say. There is a phrase I recently learned from a friend, “curious not furious”, I must have said that to myself a half dozen times. Susan had to work so I quietly represented for the family, arms folded across my chest sitting on the leather couch until I realized my body language must seem cold and unwilling. I quickly opened myself up to a more “friendly” position, open, willing to listen, good mother, happy person, smart. Then I realized I was totally stuck in my own head and was more concerned about my “appearance” than the conversation –what is wrong with me? I shut that voice down and listened intently. The director spoke about how willful my daughter is, intelligent, and the “queen bee” of the class. She was right, Sophia is all of these things; I was too as a little girl. She began to give advice, amazing advice that I needed to be reminded of about how to handle a strong, independent child like mine. I realized that I was grateful to be hearing about a way in which to help Sophia learn to self-regulate, and to gain her autonomy. Parenting is difficult, sometimes it’s about getting through the day, other times it’s about breaking the rules, sometimes about making lots of rules, the only thing I know to be true is that things are always changing. Every time I cling to normalcy it dissipates before my eyes. I walked out of the school feeling relieved to have some idea of what I’m doing again, to have structure and guidance, similar to what they recommended for my daughter. I guess we all need a little help sometimes.
Often times I don’t want to hear what other people have to say. I hate their advice and opinions, I have my own and I’ve spent years developing them but today was a different day, a day in which I needed to receive and build on what I knew. And when I picked my daughter up from school later in the afternoon and she put a hand on each of my cheeks and said “Mama I make you happy, I love you mama,” I melted, knowing that all she will ever need from me is love and understanding and a willingness to be the best mother that I’m capable of.