Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Do I Look Beautiful?

My almost three year old has decided that naps are for sissies. All of my kids have gone through this phase and the only thing I've learned is that I have no idea what works until I try it. Friends with one child will ask me sleep advice and I basically tell them to throw spaghetti at the wall until it sticks. They are all as different as different can be. I've tried many tricks with my daughter to no avail.

There's the firm approach. "Rosalie Rebecca, no more playing. Lay down. Go to sleep." This worked beautifully with my oldest. He LOVES rules. My daughter just falls in a puddle of tears and tells me that I "hurt her feelings" because "that was not nice."

There's the gentle approach. "Here baby, let me tuck you in. Do you need another story?" My middle child prefers this. He is a sensitive soul and needs to feel understood and loved before he can hear a word that you're saying. My daughter, however, enjoys the perks of being understood then does whatever she wants as soon as the door is closed.

We were on phase three last week when I went into her room. The cold shoulder approach. This is where I walk in, take the toy she's playing with and put her back in bed without saying a word. I resist eye contact and conversation, letting her know that I mean business. This time, however, I noticed a shimmer on her face. "Were you putting on make-up, Ro?" I asked, keeping my voice aloof.

"Nope," she said, looking me dead in the eyes then blinking demurely.
"Then why is your face sparkly?"
"I put on lipstick. That not make up. It lipstick."
"Ahhh. Okay. Just so that you know, lipstick is a kind of makeup," I said, trying to maintain any shred of authority I had left in this situation.
"Not really. It just lipstick."
I took a deep breath, knowing that an argument with a two year old would be a complete waste of time. "Okay, babe. Go to sleep." I walked toward the door, mentally preparing an appropriate phase four when I heard her say, "Mama?"
"Yeah, love?"
"Don't I look beautiful?"
At that, I melted. "You are always beautiful, my sweet girl. I love you."
"Love you!" she said as she settled down under her blanket and, within minutes, fell asleep.

She knew I was annoyed with her and needed reassurance. She needed a nap but she couldn't rest until she knew we were on good terms; Until she knew that I thought she was beautiful. I thought about how many times that is true for me as well. I can't listen to good advice without knowing that someone already thinks I am amazing. I feel such complete peace when I know I am loved and treasured. My daughter had no problem asking for that affirmation. Maybe we shouldn't be afraid to do the same.

You are beautiful. You are loved. Don't let anyone tell you anything different.

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