Grace Under Fire

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There are few things in this world that I love more than a fiery woman. Give me a big attitude, an independent mind and a free spirit, and I’ll be your friend for life. In fact, very few women in my life are passive or even shy. I am drawn to women who lead and who inspire and who bring something to every table they approach.

Which is why I am so proud that Gracie Girl is my daughter.

Good Lord, how I love that baby. She drives every nerve I have crazy. She tests every boundary. She pushes every button. And somewhere inside, even as I’m redirecting and disciplining her, I’m also whispering, “GO GET ‘EM, GRACIE!”

Gracie is 18-months-old now. (WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?!?!?) She’s at that awesome age of exploration and discovery. “If I flip this switch, what happens?” or “What’s behind this door?” or “Now how do I do that again?” Her world is full of surprises and adventures, and Gracie soaks up each and every one.

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She’s very much into real-life toys, as opposed to play toys. She wants to play with my cell phone, my jewelry, Chris’s watch, real muffin tins, actual car keys, my purse, my books… Whatever it is we are doing, Gracie wants to be doing, too. And woe to the person who tries to give her a pretend version of whatever she wants in the real world. We’ve bought her toy cell phones, car keys, remote controls, all of it. But she just looks at us like, “This is a TOY. It doesn’t work, you ninny.” The exception to this rule is, of course, Nana, who has somehow convinced Gracie that this tiny little calculator at her house is a laptop. Gracie will sit there playing with her “laptop” for hours. Well played, Nana.

Right now, Gracie’s favorite things to do are dance and say no. Sometimes she dances WHILE saying no. And, I have to say, she’s a pretty skilled dancer. If she hears even the faintest music playing somewhere, Gracie starts dancing. She has this little rock ‘n roll guitar that she plays and dances to. It’s pretty awesome.

I’ll tell you something Gracie is not good at – listening. We took Gracie to the doctor about two months ago because we thought something was wrong with her hearing. We thought maybe there was a problem with the tubes in her ear. Turns out, she can hear just fine. She just chooses not to listen. You can stand right next to Gracie and tell her, “Gracie, put the cup on the table,” and she will do whatever the heck she wants to do. Carry it off, attempt to drink out of it, pour it on the floor. Doesn’t matter. It’s like she can’t hear you. DRIVES ME CRAZY! In fact, as I have been writing this, she has been standing next to me trying to type on the keyboard. I keep saying, “No, Gracie,” and about 2 seconds later, here comes her chubby little paw again. Some of this is her age, but a lot of this is just her personality. Which, quite honestly, scares the bejeezus out of me and Chris.

“I’m a little worried about when Gracie is sixteen,” Chris said to me once.

“Sixteen?” I replied. “I’m worried about when she’s two!”

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Gracie just does things on her own, at her own pace. With Bean, he excels at just about everything. He was early on almost every milestone and is a very rule-abiding boy. He is as dependable and consistent as the day is long. Actually, it’s a trait that reminds me of Chris, which has always reminded me of my dad. Gracie, though? Gracie has been late on every milestone (which our pediatrician says is fairly common in second children). And it’s not because she can’t do things. It’s because she doesn’t want to do them. So, she doesn’t.

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Swimming lessons are the perfect example. When we started swimming lessons, it was going to be a 6-8 weeks program. Bean finished right on time at 6 weeks.

Gracie is in her 11th week of swimming lessons. ELEVEN WEEKS.

And why is it taking her so long? Because she is pissed off! Every time they put her in the water, she starts screaming and flailing and pitching a giant, angry fit. She isn’t scared or nervous. She is very clearly MAD. Finally, last week she stopped pitching a fit and one day, all of a sudden, started floating all on her own. As if she had been able to the entire time and finally decided to humor us. She even laughed the whole time she did it.

DRIVES. ME. NUTS.

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But as frustrating as raising an independent, bold little girl can be, I still wouldn’t change one thing about her personality. While it would be much easier if Gracie were a follower right now, I know that when she is sixteen, I will be so thankful that she is a leader and not a follower. Mine and Chris’s job is to make sure that she has the morals, ethics and good sense to lead people to the right things, instead of the wrong. In any case, I’m already so proud of her and her fierce little spirit. She makes me pull my hair out and glow with pride, all at the same time.

What a lucky momma I am.

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17 thoughts on “Grace Under Fire

  1. Oh this reminds me so much of my own little girl. Molly will be 3 in December, and she is stubborn and strong-willed and even obstinate. My mom sees this and likes to point out, “She gets that from you, you know,” as this is revenge. What she doesn’t understand is that I LOVE this about Molly. While it is SO frustrating sometimes right now while I’m trying to help her learn and grow, I know it will serve her so well as it turns into independence and leadership as she grows older, because it served me extremely well. I can’t wait to see her become to voracious, goal-driven, proud woman I know she will be, so I don’t mind the stubborn side of her now. She may sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, but mostly I just love her hutzpah.

  2. Joanie

    First of all, I swear that Gracie is a perfect clone of you! I have never seen a girl look so much like her mama before.

    Second, my oldest child used to do that “I can’t hear” thing too. At one point, I did what you did and got concerned about his hearing. Nope, he could hear fine. He just wasn’t listening! At ten years old he’s still a force to be reckoned with. And he still sometimes seems to have no ears…

  3. RJ

    This is my daughter too. She is also fearless though, she is going to give me a heart attack.

  4. I second the video of Gracie dancing, please! I can’t wait to see what her interests are as she grows older. I think she will be a woman that gets things done when she sets her mind to it! And the teenage years well,….good luck. Maybe it will help if you make her “think”she is in control…like with the laptop calculator.

  5. I love this. This is super sweet and so well said! Gracie is so lucky to have such a wonderful family and I know she will treasure this when she gets older. LOVE!

  6. Beanie & Gracie's Nana

    Describes our little Gracie Girl to a tee!

  7. Rachel @ The Ongoing Planner

    She is getting so bug! Oh my goodness! It is so very interesting to see how different her and Bean are. I have always thought the “Peking Order” concept is interesting and very telling.

  8. My firstborn is very similar to this. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the shared red hair or not. ๐Ÿ™‚ She has always and still does things her way and won’t listen to us trying to tell her differently. It drives me the most bonkers when she simply won’t listen to something I have to say that is GOOD for her. So stubborn to even get the good. Ah, I love her so! You are right that they will be the leaders and we, as their parents, need to make sure they have the right training to be good ones.

  9. Gracie and Porter have a lot of the same traits. Porter’s daycare/preschool teachers say that Porter operates on “Porter Time”–he can absolutely do what is requested of him, he just doesn’t want to do what you say. Which is why I think we have been potty training P-Bo for like a year now so I know your frustration over 11 weeks of swim lessons!

  10. Too funny! The listening story reminds me of my dad. His “hearing” was (is!) so bad that my mom sent him to the doctor. The doctor’s response: “The good news is, your hearing is fine. The bad news is, you have to listen to hear.” Ha!

  11. Peggy

    I have an independent one and I love her VERY much!

  12. Leah

    This post is exactly what I needed. My baby girl is just a month older than Gracie and she is a pistol. At 9+ months pregnant my patience isn’t always where it should be. I needed this reminder that her strong little personality will carry her far in life and even on the days when it’s exhausting I wouldn’t change a single thing about the wonderful girl God has made her to be ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Sarah H.

    Ah. Our daughters are so different. I like to read what other toddlers are up to though ๐Ÿ™‚ Natalie likes to sit and read books mostly, listens better than I do, but is till not walking at 15 months. But she is the only and the oldest, so I’m sure there are some wild babies in store for me in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. It is so funny to me when I see these posts of yours how similar Gracie and my Daughter Ellie are. (not to mention they are only days apart in age!) This is definitely a challenging age, and I am really hoping the 3’s are not as bad!

  15. Sarah

    She sounds like both of my boys. They make me crazy and proud all at once. I didn’t even know that was possible. I read like a billion books on parenting and discipline because these two have left me completely baffled. The good news is, the books all seem to agree that even though this is an impossible age to parent this personality, they grow up to be the best kind of teenagers and adults. So in the meantime, I guess we power through and breathe a huge sigh of relief at bedtime.

  16. Kat

    LOVE her strong will ๐Ÿ™‚ she’s absolutely adorable with that fire-red hair and her adorable, though a bit mischievousness, smile.

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