Welcome to Nine!

021D1F63-DEE1-4EA4-BD8F-087479D7B33F

Once upon a time a baby girl was born.

Boy, were we relieved when we found out you were a girl! Here’s truth #1: I didn’t enjoy it that much when you were inside me, but once you were out and the doc said those three words “it’s a girl!” your Papa and I whooped with joy.

Visions of pink, swirly skirts, glitter, nail polish, braids, Barbies and princesses filled my future and I couldn’t wait. But no, that was not your plan.

Here’s truth #2: I’m more than okay with you not being a girly-girl. In fact, I’m proud that you’re not, in spite of all the branding and stereotyping in society. It’s way cooler that you get to decide who you want to be, what you want to play with, how you want to dress than society and conventions limiting you.

Being you means focusing on your karate because you enjoy the challenge and the structure and you get to work with weapons and to spar against both boys and girls. And you get strong and fierce in the process.

Being you means you can wear leopard print from top to bottom and own it.

Being you means mastering multiplication and reading mystery books and knowing a ridiculous amount of detail about different dog breeds.

Being you means playdates where you play “Rey” and he plays “Finn.”

Being you means loving music. And hating sauce. And adoring your stuffed animals and your “guys”.

Being you means wanting to learn to play the piano, but only after you get your black belt.

IMG_2666

Here’s truth #3: I do hope you continue to take care of your long hair so I can continue braiding it. Because it’s the only “girly” thing I get to do with you.

Dear T, please keep on being you.

Because you is the best.

Make 9 your greatest year yet!!

IMG_1234

IMG_2213

Seven!

IMG_8636

On this day, seven years ago, you arrived – two weeks early. You’ve not been early for anything ever since.

You are my funny girl, my ray of feisty sunshine, my karate ninja, my pop diva.

You know your own mind & I love that.

You can now read (oh the places you will go!)

You are blissfully unaware of your beauty. Your exquisite almond eyes and deep red lips.

You love love love your “rocky” music. And you move like Jagger.

You are my concert companion: first Bruno Mars, then Maroon 5. (Sshhh, there’s more in store this summer!)

Your appetite has grown as your beautiful body (that I made) has lengthened & strengthened. But you still consume food molecule by molecule. Meatballs, Mac & cheese, milk and chocolate rule your world. You are a broccoli machine. But NO SAUCE. Sauce is evil.

Your remain loyal to your main man Optimus Prime, but welcome his pals from Hero Factory, Lego Chima, and Ninjago. And Pokemon, of course.

You still want to be vet when you grow up. Or a pop star. Or a normal person.

You’ve mostly conquered your fear of new toilets.

You still burp like a beer-swilling trucker. (Grown men have been known to snort with laughter upon hearing such sounds emanate from one so small and cute.)

I’m training you to load the dishwasher to my exacting standards (this thrills me!)

You still maintain a freakish mental database of everyone’s ages and birthdays.

Most of all, you love to snuggle and give the tightest hugs!

Happy 7th birthday, my T!

 

Guest Post: Are You My Mother?

Recently, a new friend said to me, “It wasn’t always like this, but now my mother is my best friend.”  I thought, “Wow, I love my mom, but that is not how I would describe our relationship.”

Not a day later, another friend plaintively asked, “How do I keep from turning into my grandmother?” … who was bitter and lonely at the end of her life. 

The proximity of these two comments has me thinking about the spectrum of mother-daughter closeness and where I would like to be, both with my mother and my two daughters. I recognize that it takes intention, and a lot of years, and that individual personalities will have some effect as well, but I am determined.

Then I hesitate. I love my mom and I know she loves me, but tends towards negativity and has trouble expressing affection. So how do I do everything completely differently without invalidating the good aspects of my memories of childhood and my solid, if not best-friend-close relationship with her now? I know she worked hard to be a more fun and supportive mom than her mom was – so who am I to criticize? But I still have issues.

The question from my friend about not turning into her grandmother actually prompted the best answer for me. I told her I think you have to be someone who doesn’t judge. It has been my overriding interpersonal goal lately to not judge. It is a difficult practice and, as with yoga, Buddhism, or anything worth improving, perfection is likely elusive.

The effort, however, has already had a profound affect on my relationship with my mom. I’ve started gently calling her on negative comments, and pushing back, actually telling her that it hurts my feelings when she makes judging comments about me. I have noticed a change in the way that she approaches our discussions and, with consistency, there seems to be an actual decrease in negativity as she learns the new rules. This approach applies to so many mother-daughter discussions. When she tries to engage me in a discussion of my cousin’s baby weight gain, I firmly refuse to discuss it.  When she makes an observation about my daughters’ eating habits – food and body image issues being one of the sorest of the sore spots – I remind her that I’m their mom and that it is none of her business. When she says things like, “Oh, I just want your sister to settle down and find a nice man to marry and move back here so she can be happy,” I gently point out that she may be perfectly happy living a social single life.

Now, how will this improve my relationship with my own daughters? Well, I work on not being a parent that kills self-confidence with judging comments. I try to catch myself before I say, “That was good but you can do better,” if I can. Or before I override their decisions. 

More importantly though, I am practicing not judging myself, probably the hardest part, especially growing up with lots of “That’s great, but …” I know that in order to foster a more loving and durable relationship with my daughters, I need to model loving myself and not worry too much about what the neighbors think of my messy house.

Erika Jerram is an urban planner for the Town of Framingham.  She is also the mom of two amazing girls ages 7 and 2, who astound her daily with their capacity for curiosity, humor, and sheer self-confidence.  Erika’s days are filled with seeking that mystical place known as “Work Life Balance” and housework usually loses the battle for her attention. She works at not judging people and not sweating the small stuff and her relationship with her Mom is stronger now than it ever was.

photo 1

Six!

IMG_5990

You’ve always been your own person, jiving to your own beat.

You grab every day with enthusiasm.

You burp like a beer-swilling trucker.

Optimus Prime is still your main man. Followed by Bruno Mars.

You still move at the pace of a snoozing snail.

You live by the rules. Except when you wrestle with your brother.

You love pop music. As long as it’s “rocky.”

When you are angry, you are fierce. (You go girl!)

You still consume your food molecule by molecule.

Your almond eyes and deep red lips surprise me every day (I made such beauty?)

You can laugh at yourself. When you laugh, your voice disappears. It’s very cute.

No juice please, only milk.

Dresses & skirts be gone (but at least you let me braid your hair.)

You want to be a vet when you grow up.

You’ve partially overcome your dislike of spherically shaped foods. Meaning you now eat peas and corn, and you’ll suck on a grape. But blueberries, baby tomatoes? Nope.

You want to be either Captain America or The Hulk for Halloween.

No sauce please, on anything.

You are planning on forming a band. You will be playing bass.

You love to snuggle, you love bedtime, you love to sleep.

You go from tears to giggles at shocking speed.

I can still double bluff you.

You are my superhero.

Happy birthday, T – welcome to six!

DSCN0446

%d bloggers like this: