Overheard from the other room:
“Don’t you remember what Mommy said? Just because you’re little and cute, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want.”
Amen, Luke. A-freaking-men.
As Sally rounds three and a half, and heads into the homestretch towards four, I see the error of my ways coming to hit me in the face. I see a future adolescent, a future teenager. ::shudder:: And I don’t think I like her.
My problem is that she’s soooooooooo cute. I can barely stop myself from constantly smooshing her, petting her, kissing her, turning her upside down to hear her giggles, nuzzling her, hugging her, adoring her. All of this fawning has taught her one thing: I’m cute, I’m little, and therefore, I can do whatever I want.
I make sure to tell her that I value effort, caring, sharing, kindness, and manners over looks, cuteness, prettiness, pigtails and tutus and mismatched rainboots. I say it, but I don’t act it.
I’m not just talking about cute as in pretty. Part of it is just being so dang small. Why do you think those mini-liquor bottles are so appealing? It’s the cute factor – they look just like regular ones, but teeny. This defines Sally.
The truth is, her cuteness is really her best trait so far. She’s not a great conversationalist, she can’t sing, she cheats at cards, picks her nose, and cries at the tiniest perceived injury or disappointment. Her sense of humor and personal hygiene are questionable at best and her table manners leave much to be desired.
I need to find a way to balance reveling her in her cuteness with not letting her think that being cute is her free pass. Part of me wants to put my foot down, nip this in the bud. I can see the catastrophic tantrums of a demanding nine-year old, the epic battles with a self-centered sixteen-year old, and the crushing disappointment of a disenchanted twenty-five year old. My job is early intervention to prepare this child for when she’s regular-people-sized.
But then part of me knows that my little kids are getting bigger, that my days of hand holding and Eskimo kisses are numbered. That part wants to make sure I soak it up while I can.
Which is worse: reigning-in a foot-stomping tween, or regretting not getting enough cuddles in when I could? Is it possible that today’s excess equals tomorrow’s strong foundation rather than tomorrow’s rude awakening?