One of my children has special needs. One of my children does not.
Ri is completely neurotypical and goes through everything 10-year-old girls do.
Because my kids are so developmentally different, I struggle to parent my youngest without losing my patience. I find that with my oldest, Jamie, I have an infinite amount of patience (well, maybe not infinite, but definitely more than normal). With my daughter, Riley, I get frustrated and yell more. I know that part of that is because Jamie doesn’t talk and can’t question our rules.
And part of it is that Riley is just like her mother.
Riley is an inquisitive child and wants to know the why of everything. She likes to push her boundaries, spreading her wings a bit more each day. Training herself for when she’s ready to take flight on her own someday. I want that for her so much. But I also want her to stay my baby forever. Of course, that’s why there’s so much impatience from me; it’s not the questioning of authority (Ok, it is a little bit.) It’s the spreading of her wings and wanting to fly away that is getting to me.
Why do I have to rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?
Why do I need to do homework before going outside to play?
So. Many. Questions.
Part of me wants to say, “Because I said so!” and I’m not gonna lie, I do sometimes. But the other part of me is really proud of her for being so inquisitive. She doesn’t take anyone’s word for much. She is constantly questioning what she hears and reads.
That’s exactly what I want her to do. Not be gullible, and not believe everything she reads, especially when she’s older and reading things on the internet. (I’m looking at you, people who believe you’ll get 7 years bad luck if you don’t copy and paste that Facebook status, spoiler alert – you won’t. Or those other folks who think that if you don’t share this post and type AMEN, Jesus will be ashamed of you – he won’t, at least not for that.)
Question authority, child! But dammit. When Mom tells you to brush your teeth or they’ll fall out, you can take that to the bank. And when I say, “Ri, you need to wear a light sweatshirt”, it isn’t for my health. Rest assured, I don’t put your vitamins and allergy meds out just to have them still sitting on the kitchen counter when I get home from work. Honestly, it seems that way.
Seriously though, she can keep questioning, even though my last nerve is hanging by a thread. I just keep remembering the curse my mama and grandma put on me. “I hope you have one just like you!” and boy did I.
Riley has no other choice but to be as she is because she is a perfect mixture of her father and me. We are neither one of us goody-two-shoes. We are rule-breakers by birth, toeing that line of being just a tad bit insubordinate, flying in the face of all that is decorous. Just enough to annoy our parents and make them super proud. But we both have a soft heart.
Be curious! It’ll serve her well in adulthood.
I hope she works hard to reach her goals in life, that she is kind to others and remembers where she comes from. That she is proud to be a part of this family, and that she does her best every day to move her life forward -always questioning authority, respectfully. Riley is the youngest grandchild on both sides of our family. She comes from a long line of strong, independent, willful, and amazing people.
Our parents were cursed with kids just like them, and so it continues…