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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.