Sunday, April 16, 2006

She Came This Way

Saturday mornings, Hannah goes to gymnastics. She loves it, so we recently added another class on Wednesdays. Very different demographics. Instead of Dads in sweats and baseball caps, think Moms in head-to-toe Burberry. Burberry scarf, Burberry rain boots and everything in between. Better yet, think Nanny. The first Wednesday class we went to, there were two other moms and three nannies. The kids all look as pulled together as their mothers do. And there goes my beautiful Hannah, pony tail half undone, leotard riding up to expose one diapered cheek . . . And this from the kid who normally considers herself to be a bit of a fashion plate, mixing color and pattern with abandon and somehow always (ok,almost always) making it work.

I don't dress Hannah. I am expected to provide the clothing--all of which must first meet her approval--and then just let her do her own thing. Jeans? Not a chance. Long sleeves? Only if you're really fast and/or have a big piece of chocolate handy. Pants? Ask again on laundry day when there are no skirts or dresses clean. And each and every dress, skirt and nightgown (gasp! There are dresses you can SLEEP in??) is tested for general twirliness, with preference given to those scoring the highest. This past autumn, we came back from Old Navy with a cute, cute brown skirt that she had apparently not seen before it went into the bag. I had to beg to get her to even try it on. It stayed at her waist for 2.3 seconds before being tossed aside.

"Hannah, it's so cute! Don't you at least want to try it on with the shirt?"

Very decisive shake of the head followed by:

"I guess you'll just have to take it back. We still have the receipt."

"But Hannah . . . "

"No. I don't like brown."

And she doesn't. Not even brown shoes. The pair that most people would call brown are actually sparkly gold shoes. For dancing in twirly princess dresses.

And when I asked why she was being so stubborn, she replied: "I don't know. I guess I just came this way."

So while employing a nanny wouldn't actually work for me (not that I wouldn't be willing to give a try, you know, just to be sure) sometimes I think about asking one of them for some pointers on getting Hannah to listen. To get things done a little faster. To not be so stubborn. But then I remember all the times I thought, "Huh, I would never have put that X with the Y, but somehow it works." (I was never very good at algebra, either.) Or just how easy it is to lose track of time with a pad of paper and a box of crayons. Or how I had never noticed that earthworms are shy.

So instead of asking for advice on getting Hannah to do what I want when I want it done, maybe I just need to spend a little more time in her world, at her speed. After all, does it really matter if she hates to brush her hair or wants to wear the same dress three days in a row? And is it really such a bad thing for her to go without a coat just because I'm cold? She's smart, funny, only a little sarcastic and very sociable, so I must be doing something right. Now if only I could get the antidote to selective hearing . . . .


Anonymous said...

Ok. So you just got my vote as the best effing mom I know. :-) Isn't it interesting the "nanny to activity" count there is during the weekday? Hannah is gorgeous beyond compare ( I know she knows this).. but why mess with such a good thing?

hvyTK said...

Couldn't let your poetic "earthworms are shy" go without comment.