I'm not the first person to say this, and I won't be the last, there is a BIG difference in parenting boys than girls. Big. Monumental. Enormous even, and I've caught myself muttering under my breath more than once that if my daughter had been born first, I might not have had any more kids.
Oh come on, as if I'm the only mom who has ever thought this.
It isn't that I don't relish all the moments of the day that keep me on my toes, because I do - even the most tedious moments that involve picking up a trail of Bitty Baby supplies littered throughout the house. I can pick up things all day long. But the drama...oh the drama.
People always told me that girls were different, when I had my 2 young boys climbing on my head and shoulders like little monkeys.
"Really?" I'd say, as one of them poked his big toe in my eye socket, "because these 2 are a lot of work!"
I had no idea.
I'd take monkey head climbing over this emotional stuff any day.
You'd think I'd be more equipped because, well, this may be shocking to some but I am a girl. I do remember being young, and I do remember how I felt. But seems to me that I was delayed on the whole attitude-giving and accompanying drama until later...much later, than my daughter. She's six. She doesn't need to be huffing and puffing every time she doesn't get her way (at least wait til after the honeymoon for that honey). She doesn't need to be talking about boys (what is that about, exactly, when you're six) and licking pictures of Joe Jonas. And if I hear her sing that stupid Katy Perry song one more time I might just hurl.
My sister in law (who is the mother of my also six year old niece) and I were discussing the girls the other day, while listening to them tattle on each other from the backseat of my car.
"They are so different than the boys," I said.
"No kidding," she said, as we both sighed.
Then we looked at each other expecting the other to throw us a life raft, a life jacket, a swim noodle - anything - to keep us afloat. Sadly, we're in this for the long haul and just because raising girls isn't always cupcakes, smiles, polite curtsey's and giggles all the time - doesn't mean that we need to let them get the better of us. Oh no. We're working on ways to stop the drama. I'm thinking of an action plan: STOP THE DRAMA NOW. But it's hard, especially when it's your last and only daughter, to sometimes dole out the correct words and consequences to keep her from turning into a wild beast. But I try. Constantly.
I censor the television. I censor the radio. I try to censor what her brothers say and do around her, reminding them that they have a little sister. Sometimes I think we parents are constantly swimming upstream against a gaggle of influences on our children that will one day just flow over our heads, drowning us all. I cringe at the notion that I can't control everything she is exposed to, everything she sees and hears.
I did the same thing with the boys, but they were much easier. They didn't care if Hannah Montana had pink or purple hair. They were too busy flinging mud at each other. They didn't care if Barbie liked Ken or had the perfect dress. They were too busy flying around the house with their Buzz Lightyear wings on saying "to infinity and beyond." And Katie does things like that too, but it seems that lately - we're more into High School Musical than we are Dora...and even though I don't miss hearing that awful camera singing "click take a pic" day in and day out, I kind of miss Dora.
The other day I took her to a concert. She's been looking forward to seeing the Imagination Movers all week and was thrilled that she'd actually talked to one of them on the phone (yes, I'm still riding that one). Every night she'd ask me, "how many sleeps until we see them mama?" And I'd tell her. And then she'd run off giggling and smiling ear to ear.
When the big day came, she was stoked. "Should I wear this, or this?" She asked me, holding up what she thought was appropriate concert wear.
I didn't correct her.
"Wear what you think looks best!" I said.
She chose a denim skirt, tights, flowered shirt, and bright pink vest with scarf...ruby red sparkly shoes on her feet. She looked adorable.
We bought flowers at the market to bring as a gift for the Movers and rode with anticipation all the way to Seattle to see them - giggly, happy, silly. As I clutched her tiny hand in mine, walking along the city sidewalk in the frigid wind, I felt like I had my baby back. My little girl had returned from the land of drama.
And I'm going to do all that I can to keep her from going back.
Tonight, we're totally reading Junie B. Jones.