We are a Disney Princess family. In the beginning when Ella was first introduced to Disney, namely the princesses, I felt we had a good balance of what I’d like to call 2 categories: Princess and Not Princess. Ella really enjoyed playing with her trainset, reading all types of books (Thomas the Train, Huggle Buggle, etc.) and playing with her Princess Barbies. Lately she’s been very into Disney characters, namely the princesses. Does that mean Cinderella ate my baby? I think not.

It’s our job to support who our children are at any given point and instill in them their morals, values and ethics. I would feel sorry for your child if you tried to push him/her into something they weren’t. It’s like forcing them to play soccer if they really wanted to go to ballet class. One of my best friends has a son is the same age as Ella. He happens to enjoy playing with Barbies (dolls), puts on chapstick/lipgloss, seems halfway interested in playing dress-up, loves to cook with his kitchen, etc. My friend lets him, as she should because he enjoys doing those particular things. Is anyone judging her? Nope.

I think trying to make your child something he/she is not is more damaging than letting them play with a doll that happens to have measurements that you could probably only obtain by getting plastic surgery. It’s up to us, the parents of these young impressionable beings to teach them about what’s real and what’s not. Give them self confidence to be who they are and stop being so anti-“everything”. I’ve heard that Disney is actually talking about doing a bald Barbie for children who are going thru Chemo treatments, etc. I suppose that’s terrible also…How about American Girl dolls? These dolls have real life stories. They’re normal in size. I let Ella play with hers and she loves it. She happens to have Rebecca, the Russian Jew, by the way. Do you really think Ella knows the difference between the American Girl doll with the real life story or the skinny Barbie. Hell no.

We need to stop over analyzing absolutely everything and just let kids be kids. As long as we instill in them morals and do everything in moderation, who cares? Freaking chill out.

More from this series: 

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I’m a self-proclaimed nerd. This should be nothing new to those of you who know me…I was always much more likely to sit inside than head out for recess. I always loved studying and genuinely enjoyed going to class. Although I’m glad to be done with school, my inner nerd comes out every once in awhile.

I was in a training session for work the other day and we took a learning styles assessment. I love personal assessments, because they teach me to think about my own style in new ways. I don’t think I learned anything groundbreaking from this particular assessment, but there was a section about learning styles and parenting that I thought was interesting. Also, for other nerds out there, you can read more about learning styles and experiential learning here.

We all learn and make sense of the world in different ways. There are four learning styles (learning by doing, learning by experiencing, learning by reflecting, and learning by thinking). You can probably think of your preferred learning style just from the descriptions. When we parent, we will most often teach in the style that we prefer. But are we being sensitive to how our children would like to learn? Or should we try to strengthen weaker styles with our kids? Here is a brief description of the styles for kids:

Learning Styles

After reading through the styles, do you have any inclinations about your kids? Of course, the best approach with your kids is using a blend of styles. Interesting stuff, huh? Told you I was a nerd.

Princess EllaElla has had a sense of style that just comes naturally to her.  From the time she was little she’s had input picking out her outfits.  She usually opts to wear a princess costume to school every single day.  I let her because it’s how she expresses herself.  Her reasoning for why she wears them every day when you ask her is “because I love it.”  Either way, she knows exactly what she likes and dislikes and isn’t afraid to let me know!  Being able to pick out her own clothes gives her a sense of control over her individuality and personal style, which I think is important to instill in her.  However, I’ve started to wonder where I should draw the line and step in.

Case in point…

Ella has been talking about getting her ears pierced for a while now.  Sure, I think she’d look adorable with her ears pierced, but is it really necessary to poke holes in her ears when she’s 3 years old just because she’s asking for it? I certainly don’t want to hinder her personal expression and uniqueness but I’m having trouble knowing the “right” thing to do with this particular request of hers.  What would YOU do?

Maya

We were all walking back to the car the other day and I was holding Maya. I whispered in her ear, “Who loves you?” She replied, “Mommy loves me!”

“Who else loves you?”

“Daddy loves me!”

“Who else loves you?”

“Seth loves me!”

“Who else loves you?”

“ME loves Me!… Myself loves me!!”

 

Maya has now reached the stage where she is testing the limits of what she knows is right.  She isn’t defiant on purpose-she’s just having a little fun with it.  She’ll do something she knows she shouldn’t, we’ll warn her that she is going to have a time out or be removed from the situation (dinner table, play room, etc.), and then she’ll go right ahead and do it anyway.  She TOTALLY understands what’s at stake, and she does it anyway!!  I secretly love it because she has this really great sense of humor and is a really funny kid.  She still gets upset if we win and she loses, but she has fun with it.

Just the other day we were out for lunch and she was playing with the straw in her milk.  I asked her to please stop because it might spill and of course she kept right on doing it.  She even looked at me as if to say, “I dare ya to take it away!  No, I double dare ya!”  Well, I didn’t need to take it away because not too long afterwards her milk spilled and she had to clean it up.  What’s that I hear?  Mommy knows best?  Hmm.

When I was pregnant with Ella I took an infant/child CPR course thru one of our hospitals.  That was over 3 years ago.  I knew I was due for a refresher course but just couldn’t find the time to take the class, it’d been lingering on my to-do list for a while.  I’m so angry with myself that I put it off because this past Sunday, those skills would have come in handy.

We’d just gotten home from my mother-in-law’s birthday party.  We weren’t home more than 10 seconds and all of a sudden I hear Ella make a tiny mouse-like shriek.  I run over thinking one of our dogs nipped her and realized after she was pawing at her mouth that she was choking…on a marble.  She’s not crying, not breathing and I pick her up, try to give her the Heimlich maneuver and as hard as I tried, the marble wouldn’t come out.  I pass her to Jeff and start going towards the phone to dial 911 when I hear the marble hit the floor and Ella start to cry.

Thank God that marble came out.  It felt like an eternity.  I wasn’t able to get it out and still replay in my head what, if anything, I did wrong.  I had two questions I’m still asking myself: 1) What if Jeff hadn’t been home and I couldn’t get the marble out and, 2) Why in the world did I put off my refresher CPR course?

So, here is my PSA…please don’t wait until an emergency occurs to realize you need to take your refresher CPR course.  Check out your local hospitals and take your course NOW!  You’ll find me at Presbyterian Hospital taking mine in a few weeks.

We all know one, you know the mom that always knows best, whose child always does this and that at an advanced age and better than your own child. The Momitor. She hits you when you are down with a “well little Johnny can sing his ABCs and he is only 18 months. And did I tell you he started walking at 9 months?” Blah, blah, blah.

So are you one of these moms? Do you constantly put your kid up against your friend’s children? Can’t we all just relax and understand that each of us knows what is right for our own children?

As I sit here and write this I know I am a hypocrite. Over the weekend we ran into a child that was in the home-daycare with my son prior to him switching schools. I watched as the boys interacted and played ball but the Momitor in me noticed that this child, who was older than my son, was not talking. So here I am confessing to the fact that I had a Momitor moment! I mean hey, my son talks and most of the time it is English so surely that other child is delayed or isn’t engaged enough by his parents. Or maybe they are just laid back and they know their child best and how he communicates with them and I should just mind my own business.

I think all moms have a Momitor tendency. We compare growth chart stats, developmental milestones and the like, and at the end of the day we all want to know that our children are developing and growing the same as the rest of their peer group.