Charming

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Even on the darkest nights of colic-induced hysteria, I knew that Gracie was going to be a charmer.  She has the same annoyingly gifted ability to make people like her even when you really want to kill her.  I call that *charm*.  And it will be what ultimately saves Gracie’s life because without it, I would not be able to handle that headstrong, opinionated, passionate, irrational, high strung firecracker on a daily basis.

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I have learned that dealing with Gracie is like riding a bucking bronco.  The more you push or pull, the more she is going to buck.  And that has been a challenge for me because I’m a pusher and a puller.  I only expect to give you my very best scary teacher voice once before you melt into a puddle and do whatever I’m asking you to do.  Gracie, though, doesn’t flinch at even my very best scary teacher voice.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gracie flinch in her entire life.  And so, the struggle for the past year has been learning how to teach Gracie without pushing.  I have had a lot of bad parenting days as I tried to find this balance, but there were also some wins, too.  And gradually, over the past couple months, I started having more good days than bad.  And before I knew it, so did Gracie.

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For the past month, Gracie and I have hit our stride.  We are on the same page, walking the same pace, and speaking the same language (though, she can be difficult to understand sometimes!).  I’m not quite sure what happened, actually.  I don’t know if I have discovered the secret to raising Gracie (if I have, I have no idea what it is…), but I think most of the change has come from Gracie herself.  She has started talking a mile a minute these days.  Full, complex sentences, punctuated with foreign words that we don’t quite understand, and which prompt Chris and I to whisper to each other, “Maybe she speaks Chinese, and we just don’t understand her native tongue?”  For the most part, if I understand the context of what she is saying, then I can understand her.  But those times when she randomly walks up to us talking 90 miles an hour about something that happened in a different room that we didn’t see are tricky.  Bean can understand about 80% of what she is saying most of the time, and that has been really helpful.  But Chris and I are trying to get better at listening to Gracie speak so that we can understand her better.  That seems to be the key to avoiding meltdowns with Gracie.  She is not one to be misunderstood.

Another reason I think things are going to good these days with Gracie is because we are in water most days.  When you live in Florida during the summertime and you want to be outside during the day, you best find you some water to play in.  Anything else is unbearably hot.  We rotate between splash parks around town, the water table on our back deck, the hose in the yard, and, of course, the pool.  One of the things we read in the book, “Raising Your Spirited Child” was that water play for hypersensitive kids can be so therapeutic, and we have seen that first hand with Gracie.  She is never happier than when she is playing in water, which has made this summer with her so much fun.

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I think Gracie has grown through a really rough spot for her.  18-24 months was pretty tough at our house.  But she seems to have turned a corner, and we are all loving this time with our sassypants little spitfire.  Just as her Aunt Ginny, Gracie has a glorious sense of humor.  And, though is seems crazy that she can understand this at two-years-old, she seems to know just when to use humor to her advantage.  I guess it’s just all part of her charm…

Whatever it is – charm, perfect timing, growing up, communication, water play… who knows!  – Gracie is blossoming into her little personality more every day.  She is irresistible and hysterical and smart and fun.  In short, she’s just the kind of daughter I’ve always wanted.

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10 Thoughts to “Charming”

  1. Sara R.

    It’s amazing how much children grow and thrive when they are at home with their Momma full time. I’m sure that the stability of spending the summer with you is what has made the difference in her behavior.

  2. KT

    I think it’s in the book Lovin’ the Little Years as well as on the author’s blog that Rachel Jankovich talks about teaching little girls to be appropriate riders of their own emotions, which she compares to spirted horses. The point, she says, is not to break the bucking bronco, but to equip the little girl herself to handle the beast. My little girl is younger than your Grace, so I don’t have any expertise, but every time I read here I think, “It sounds like she’s doing a good job.”

  3. Short legs, long torso, strong-willed, hysterical…hmmm. Reminds me of someone…

  4. Abby @ Used to Have A Brain

    Your thing about speaking Chinese made me laugh, because of this story. some friends of ours adopted a small terrier from a shelter, and could not get her to obey basic commands, until one day they were watching a show which had someone speaking Spanish. The tv person said “sit down” in Spanish and their dog sat! After trying a few other Spanish commands they discovered that their new dog wasn’t dumb- he spoke Spanish!!

  5. I love that when I read these posts about Gracie, I never see an undertone of you trying to change her into something other than what she was created to be… and I always see you trying over and over again to be the parent that Gracie needs. It’s refreshing and so encouraging. Gracie seems like she would light up any room that she walked into =)…. Brad and I swore that Zoe spoke Mandarin when she was starting to really get to talking. We would joke that we needed a degree in Chinese just to communicate with our very white daughter.

  6. Verity

    I love your Gracie posts because I just see my 1 year old girl in the same wild vein! And I also have a 2 1/2 year old v good older boy so this wild child girl has come as a big shock. Just this morning I was saying to my husband who is working away for a week “please don’t go I can’t do R all on my own she just pushes all my buttons” while also feeling guilty because I utterly adore her. So thank you thank you thank you for showing me all the good things of having a high spirited girl & keeping me inspired in my parenting. X

  7. “There was a little girl who had a little curl right in middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very very good . . . and when she was bad, she was horrid!” My mom used to say that about me . . . sounds like it may apply to little Gracie too!! 🙂

  8. O these two year olds. My son recently started talking in sentences and it has made life so much easier. He still gets really frustrated when we don’t know what he is saying and will repeat it very loud to help us understand better. 🙂 Thankfully we understand him most of the time!

  9. I was the same way as a child. In fact, my parents like to tell the story of how on the drive home from the hospital after i was born, the first thing my father said was, “this one is gonna give us trouble”

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