Posts By: Heather Dixon

Raising a sensitive cloud child.

Last night, I lay in bed with my 5-year old, waiting for her to fall asleep.

“Anna,” I whispered, “Are you awake?”

“No,” she whispered back.

I smiled to myself. I had wanted to chat. But I knew she needed her sleep, so I kept quiet.

Instead, I stared at her eyelashes in the dark and started thinking. Thinking about how amazing she was. How much she had changed and learned in her 5 years in this world. How well she handled having two little sisters join her family. How hard the transition to JK has been for her and her sensitive little personality. Still. In January.

Change is hard for her. When things are different, she gets easily upset. She regresses a little. She doesn’t seem so grown up anymore. Every time we overcome one little hurdle at school (‘Mommy – why is show & share different at big school? Why aren’t I allowed to keep my toy behind my back after I’m done showing it?’) another one seems to come up.

But then there are moments like earlier that day. When her eyes got wide as she told me excitedly about the dinosaurs they learned about today. And when she watched me making popcorn… her belly laugh at the sight of the kernel actually turning into a piece of popcorn.

“Did you see that??” she laughs. “How awesome!”

My grown up little baby girl. She straddles the line between becoming a kid and still needing her Mommy and Daddy for almost everything.

She wants to take the long way to school – stopping to pick up sticks and talk about the stream we pass. Which is great. But then we get to school, and she also wants me to come into her class and stay with her just because she’s not ready to go in when the bell rings. She wants to learn to print all sorts of new words. But even when she needs help, she wants to do it all on her own, because she’s still uncomfortable with her teachers. She wants to bring a stuffy to hold onto during quiet time. But she also wants to put it away when she’s good and ready – not when she’s told to.

After one day when she was having particularly rough time at school (and I felt like a failure), I updated my Facebook status to “How do you solve a problem like Anna?” It was meant as a joke – but a friend left this comment:

“How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?”

And I had a moment of clarity. The answer is – you don’t.

Anna is the first kid, so she has to be the “tester” – she needs to break new ground and figure this brand new world out – paving the way for her two younger sisters. And if she’s going to do it her own way – all the better.

I realized I can’t pin Anna down and I shouldn’t want to. I realized that every time I lose my grown up Anna for a little bit, I’m going to remind myself that I’ve got a cloud on my hands.

And I vow to do my best not to try and pin her down.

 

About the Author:

Heather Dixon is a copywriter at Mabel’s Labels, a smoothie aficionado, a runner and a Mom to three highly advanced little girls (according to her husband and her).

Good mother.

My Mom is one of those Moms.

I got out of bed the other morning at the sound of my 4-year-old trotting down the hallway. When I turned the corner to find her, I nearly bumped into my Mom. She had stayed overnight to help me with the girls while my husband had to work a late night.

This is what my Mom does. She helps me.

I went to get my daughter her cereal. “I think I hear Lauren. I’ll go get her,” Mom says as she walks towards my two-year-old’s room.

When they come out to greet us, Lauren is clinging to my Mom like a baby monkey. She’s tired and sleepy-eyed and not ready to take on the day yet. She wants a snuggle with the woman she has bonded so closely with already.

And why wouldn’t she? Grandma is always here when I need her. Grandma’s always there for the girls, too.

I smile at them and think about all the times Mom’s been there for me.

Running her fingers through my hair when I was home sick with a cold. Writing simple notes and hiding them in my lunch bag for school. Attending every single performance of every single dance recital I was in. (Not just one showing per year – but all 4 shows that were all. the. exact. same.) Telling me I looked nice before I left for school. Smiling like the best thing had ever happened to her, just because I walked into a restaurant to greet her for dinner. Reminding me over and over again that I’m a good mother. Showing up at my house in her pajamas for a pj day with my daughters. Helping me with the children whenever I need them. No matter what.

“Why don’t you go get ready and I’ll feed the girls?” she asks.

I snap out of my daydream and go about my morning. I am happy knowing I don’t have to rush. I won’t start the day feeling tense.

We’re a long way away from my awkward, irritable teen years. When my eyes rolled almost daily at the thought of something – anything – she had done.

Now I know. I know the value of her love. Her patience. Her caring. I can understand why she felt the way she did. I know why she would smile at me like I was the best little human that ever existed to her.

I carry on with my day, relaxed and at ease.

And I am grateful. I am so, so grateful.

 

About the Author:

Heather Dixon is a copywriter at Mabel’s Labels, a smoothie aficionado, a runner, a wife and a Mom to two – soon to be three! – highly advanced little girls (according to her husband and her).

An open letter to my daughters – from your over-thinking Mom.

Dear Anna and Lauren,

I’m writing to you today for the same reason that I always blog about you or write to you. So that one day, when you’re grown, you’ll hopefully be interested in knowing how your Mom thought and felt about your childhood and raising you when you were wee.  And you’ll be able to read all about it.

(Goodness knows I won’t remember all the little details.)

I want to give you a look into the inner ramblings of my mind. And it goes a little something like this:

 

I’m laying in bed.

I’m thinking instead of sleeping again. I’m thinking about how late it is. Thinking about you two.

I turn over and stare at a strong, quiet face – covered in stubble. It’s a peaceful face. Sound asleep. It’s one of your most favourite faces in the world.

I marvel at how the brain inside that head has the ability to be so carefree. I wonder if he ever lays awake thinking about every little thing that happened that day. Would sleep ever take a backseat to the worry that he didn’t do good enough today?

I wonder if your little 4-year-old self will remember that I lost my cool and yelled at you this morning? Or will you remember the afternoon we played on your bed for over an hour – kissing and hugging, then laughing… hiding under the covers, giggling and rolling around.

Will you, my sweet little 2-year-old, have happy memories growing up in our house? Playing in the court outside, running and biking and picking up leaves and insects. Will you think I took enough pictures of you? Will you talk about our family vacations with fondness when you’re grown?

What does it take to do it right? What do I need to do? What do I need to say?

Of course, I realize, for the most part I just need to be. Be present. Be here for you. Kiss your boo-boos. Hug you each morning. Tell you how happy I am to see you when you get home from school. Just be me.

Because “me” is someone who loves you intensely. Who can’t quite remember being someone other than your Mom.

Someone who will always do things like smile and laugh with an incredible amount of pride at the sight of you jumping on the trampoline at gymnastics class. Or immediately start bawling when you give me your first Mother’s Day card made at daycare.

And as you get older, as we make different choices together – I’m learning. About you, and me, and the decisions I have to make as a parent.

And I’ve realized that there’s no script to follow. I can’t answer the question “what does it take to be a good Mom”. There are no rules for everyone to obey.

But, I do know that it doesn’t matter if we stay at home or go to work, have one child or have six, if they’ve got special needs or not, if we believe in attachment parenting or if we’re laissez-faire. We all have the same worries. The same feelings. The same questions.

And we all love like we’ve never loved before.

Remember that, my girls. Remember that I love you. Remember that, Moms. Remember that you love like you’ve never loved before.

And for that reason, the kids are going to be alright.

Everything’s going to be alright.

We’re alright Mommy. You can stop worrying so much. (For now…)

 

About the Author:

Heather Dixon is a copywriter at Mabel’s Labels, a smoothie aficionado, a runner, a wife and a Mom to two – soon to be three! – highly advanced little girls (according to her husband and her).

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