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Monday, January 6, 2014

My mirror

My daughter...

She's outgoing and vivacious and she's turned into quite the chatterbox. If you ever want to know exactly what you sound like, get yourself a two-year-old. She's soaks up everything she hears and later it will come flying out her mouth.

"Goodness" - that's me
"Sit down. Now. One, three, one, three, two" - that's her papi, although he does count better
"Stop. Please!" - also me, complete with exactly the right touch of annoyance
"Oh, man!" - her cousin
"My turn! My turn! My turn!" - other cousin

She's more than a parrot, though. For me, she's a mirror. Reflecting my words and some of my behaviors. It's created a new responsibility for me. She is watching everything I do. How I react when I'm happy or angry or sad - it's how she'll react too. How I treat other people. How I treat myself.

I still pretty new at this parenting thing. And I'm learning as I go. I think I handled Baby and Toddler pretty well. She's healthy. She knows most of her letters, some of her shapes and colors. She says "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" in two languages. When we go somewhere, she tells everyone hello. When we leave she gives everyone a hug and kiss goodbye. She (generally) behaves in supermarkets and restaurants. She looks forward to Sunday School. Sure, I've made mistakes. Don't ask me about the Percocet scare. Or the time I left her alone in a room with a hot iron (good job, Mom!). But all in all, I think I've done a pretty good job.

But now....we're starting something completely different. So far, my role has been Caregiver. A tough job, but a relatively simple one. Now in addition to my Caregiver duties, I'm being handed the position of Example. Not a role I'm sure I'm qualified to take on.

It's forcing me to take a hard look at myself and the things I do. Could I be more patient? Could I be more thoughtful? Should I choose different words, different reactions? If she's going to be my reflection, then I need to be sure it's a reflection I want to see. So that's my goal for this year: to exhibit the values I want to see in my daughter.

I know I won't do a perfect job, but hopefully in two more years I will be able to look back and say "I think I've done a pretty good job."