I just put princess to bed after her second wakening tonight. Usually, by this time of night (a little after 10 pm) I'm pretty annoyed by these "surprise visits". I usually take a hard stance and either scream (okay, shout a bit) or threaten to take away a toy/stuffed animal/book. But tonight was a little different.
I went up with her and sat in my glider with her on my lap and I rocked her for a while. Actually, I rocked her until I started to cry. While rocking, I pat her butt and stroked her arm and played with her hair. I was reminded that she's just a little baby! She was so vulnerable and sweet and although she is almost 4 years old and well over 3 ft tall, she's still a baby.
I tend to forget that a lot. I treat her more like a little woman - I'm usually really stern and harsh (although she really doesn't listen to me). I reason with her and I expect her to know better (ALL.THE.TIME). I've reflected on my tone with her before, wondering whether I was just too hard. Then I brushed the thought off reasoning with myself that I needed to be logical and reasonable and stern because there really is no other way that I would get her to grow up to be a rational and reasonable and strong woman, right? I have to be strong for her to be strong!
Then tonight I felt so sad because that could not be the way. It can't be the way because she's just a baby. I've got to check myself and remember that I have to find a way to teach her to be strong but I've got to do it in a way that she knows that I love her. Teaching a girl to be a strong AND loving woman is a lot more difficult than I thought. I figured that any woman could teach another to be a woman. But my tone and way with her may succeed in raising a strong woman but there is little hope that I would nurture a loving one and what success would that be?