Monday, February 1, 2010

My Girl

Some of you may be wondering what's up with Punkin these days. As you may remember, when we last left "As the Punkin' Turns" there was some drama. You may also remember that our pediatrician referred us to a specialist. A specialist whose call we are still awaiting.

Yes, it's now been five months. They told us there was a wait, but this is a little ridiculous. If Punkin were in serious need of some help, I think we'd all be at the end of our rope by this point.

But, we're not. In fact, our rope seems to have grown a couple of feet. And, in fact, when (or if!) the specialist finally calls, I think we'll tell them that we're no longer in need of his or her services. It's not that everything's perfect, but everything is SO much better.

Punkin started pre-K at the beginning of August and she got the teacher we were hoping for, Oliver's former pre-k teacher. Miss Anita is a warm, no-nonsense teacher who was wise to all of Punkin's tricks before Punkin even had a chance to try them on her. She knows exactly how to handle Punkin's willfulness, her whininess, and her grumplestiltskins.

Add to this the fact that Punkin is now five months older and we've seen some big changes. Her increased maturity combined with my doing a better job of holding my ground have made things much easier around here.

We still struggle with some issues. Punkin continues to be very shy and doesn't like to have attention focused on just her. She and Bubba have recently started attending the children's choir at our church. Bubba loves it and lends his little voice to all the songs. Punkin, while she goes every week and eats the snacks and does the crafts, has yet to sing a note. I must confess that this drives me crazy.

But this is much more my problem than hers. I've realized that I struggle with the fact that Punkin is different. Different than what, you might ask? Different from Bubba, that's for sure. Different than the other kids, who all seem so willing to take the spotlight. I have to admit that my own lack of shyness and my spotlight-seeking nature as a child makes her very difficult for me to understand.

I feel the need to explain Punkin whenever she starts acting shy -- hiding her head in my leg when someone she doesn't know well says hello, refusing to sing at the Sunday service last week. "Oh, she's my shy one, I'll say," as though people have never seen a shy child before.

And I struggle with how hard I need to push her, if at all. At first I told her that she couldn't go to choir practice if she didn't sing, but I didn't really want to enforce that. It's a great group of kids who go every Sunday night and they do some really fun activities. Is it really all that important that she sing? The choir director says no, let her come anyway, even if she never sings a note. But we've pushed/rewarded/encouraged her to do things in the past and now she's comfortable doing those things.

This morning I was using my quiet drive in to work for some prayer time. I just asked God to help me be the best parent that I can be for Punkin. I asked for guidance to know what's best for her, to help me know when to push and when to hold back. And I asked for help in accepting her for who she is. Because that's all any of us want, whether we're 4 or 40.


Amy Munnell said...

LOVE the bear? claw shoes! Great piece. It's our nature to try to change things, fix things. Wait til you start revising your novel/short story.

Wooda said...

The picture of Punkin' at the bottom is precious!

calicobebop said...

Love the picture!! Yes, it's hard not to compare our children with others - I do that too. Punkin is blessed to have such a thoughtful parent who genuinely wants the best for her.

Burgh Baby said...

You know I'm in the EXACT same boat. I tend to not worry about it too terribly much, though. I decided a while ago that it was OK if Alexis didn't acknowledge people around her, just so long as she doesn't cross the line to being rude. We work on saying "Hi" back to people, saying "Thank you" when appropriate, and basic human decency. However, if she wants to hide in the living room while her friends whack a Dora pinata at her birthday party, more power to her. It's tough, but she is who she is, and there's no changing that.

AndreAnna said...

You're a great momma and she's the cutest damn thing.

Lauren said...

That picture made me laugh out loud!! So cute...

Katie in MA said...

I know your prayers will be answered, just as I know you're a GREAT mom! It's a tough struggle - I think every mom struggles with it. I KNOW I struggle with not comparing my girls to each other. But the hardest part for me is acknowledging my own role in things and being honest with myself. Being a mom is so harrrrd sometimes...but the rewards are so amazing, aren't they? :)