This weekend, we celebrated R’s 3rd birthday with our extended family. Her grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and a few long time friends gathered for her princess party. She had a great time!
It amazes me how much they change with each milestone that they reach. Instead of the tantrum filled two year-old who wouldn’t cooperate if her life depended on it, she was the picture of grace. With each present she unwrapped, she walked over to give that person a thank you or at least called out thank you to them across the room. She walked her favorites around so that everyone could get a quick peek at them first hand. She beamed as the birthday song was sung in her honor. She helped to pass out cake and waited patiently for her serving. At the end of the party, she gave our youngest guests their goody bags and thanked them again for coming to her party. Best manners were put out there with very little coaxing by either her father or myself.
I couldn’t have been more proud of her. She really has come a long way in these past few months. There was a time last spring when I didn’t think we were going to make it. Her and I. Together all day long. The tantrums. The tears. I’m talking about both of us.
My first two children did not test me in that same way during their two’s. They listen very well. They always have. They are the first-born. It’s what first-born children do best. But R, she has a mind of her own. She wants to do things her way. I had to learn how to parent in a completely new way with this child. So much of what I had in my arsenal did not pertain to her. It did not work or it was ineffective. So, this past year has been about finding what works. Taking new approaches. Easing up in some areas and not giving up in others. To me, it felt like a battle of wills. One of us was going to win and one was going down in flames. I often thought I was on the losing end. I just couldn’t break through. But, as she has closed in on three and as I held my ground on certain things and gave in to others, we seem to be at peace now. Or as close to peace as you are going to get with a three year-old.
As she fell asleep with me later that night, I truly felt a sense of pride when I looked at her. She would be all right. She demonstrated what I knew was inside of her all along. A kind heart. A good soul. A princess waiting to emerge.