Growing Pains

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It’s been a while since I’ve written a post solely about Gia. It’s not that there isn’t anything to say–there’s plenty going on with my gorgeous girl. She been busy being her awesome little self.

Yesterday we were at a birthday party for one of Gia’s friends and classmates. The party was at an adorable place called Sweet and Sassy. The girls got manicures, pedicures, facials, got their hair done and makeup applied. Gia was in heaven. And something happened at the party that simultaneously broke my heart and made me so proud of my girl–and reminded me just how much she’s growing up.


After the girls were done getting pampered they walked the catwalk. With the music blaring they strutted their stuff, jumped around to the music and had a good old time. The birthday girl, and one of the other little girls Gia goes to school with, were at the end of the runway holding hands and dancing. Both of their hands were clasped and they were swinging them back and forth. Gia noticed that they were holding hands. I could see the little wheels in her head turning as I watched from a few feet away, interested to see what she’d do. I heard her say, “Hey guys, what about me?” as she looked down at their hands. She wanted to hold hands with them — it was written all over her face — but she didn’t quite know how to get in there.

That’s the thing about Gia. She’s independent, smart, compassionate, funny, and she doesn’t miss a trick…but, when it comes to her peers, she’s not assertive. If another kid is playing with a toy she wants, she’ll tell me rather than ask for her turn. At school she’s more likely to find something else to do than play with the other kid who has the toy she wants.

When we’re alone, I often coach her on what to say or do in certain situations. Gia is her best self when she knows what to expect from a situation and the same goes for her words. How many times, as adults, have we had an argument and thought of the perfect comeback 5 minutes later? Well, when you’re three, you barely have the vocabulary to say exactly what you mean, let alone come up with it on the spot. So, I coach Gia. I tell her that if someone is being mean to her, she can tell them “stop being mean”.  Or, if she’s not in the mood to play when our neighbors come by, she should say, “I’m going to play by myself today” instead of saying “I don’t want to play with you”. We talk about how words can hurt people’s feelings and why it’s important to be kind–because no one likes it when their feelings get hurt.

So yesterday, as I watched her try to get a spot in the circle with her friends, my heart broke a little. I didn’t want her to feel sad or left out. This isn’t something we’d ever talked about, and I didn’t know how she’d handle the situation. The protective part of me wanted to run over to the girls and tell them to let my baby in. I didn’t though. I stood and watched her try again. “Hey guys, what about me?”  No response.  One more time… “Hey guys” she said, a little louder this time, “CAN I DANCE TOO?”  And then she reached down and gently took their hands and made a circle with them.

I wanted to stand up and cheer. It may seem like a little thing, but in the life of a three year old, I think it’s huge. She figured out a kind way to get in there with her friends and have some fun. She advocated for herself in the sweetest way possible — all on her own.

I know on many levels Gia already understands that we’re not going to get what we want all the time and that it’s tricky to figure out this thing called life. But, I try not to underestimate what my girl is capable of understanding and doing. Because even though she’s only three, she’s a little person and I know this is what she needs from me as a parent–to guide her and give her the tools to navigate the world on her own. Right now that world might only be preschool and play dates, but one day it’ll be much more than that. And after watching her at that party, with her friends, I’m confident she’s on the right path.


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