LaWanda is LaWanda

The other night my husband was telling me about his day at work and filling me in on his work gossip. He told how this one woman who is normally pretty quiet started expressing her opinion about a certain situation going on. She got energetic the more she spoke and rather than apologizing for her thoughts on the matter that may be deemed unacceptable if heard by the masses, she said, “Look, LaWanda is LaWanda….” as if to say, she is who she is and will not apologize for that. While I had a good laugh listening to my husband impersonate this woman, and still do just thinking about it, I totally respect where she is coming from. I think her words may be my new mantra.

I think as much as I try to hide it and pretend that I am accepting of imperfections and flaws, I am actually pretty critical, of myself and of my children. I think a lot of my criticism stems from worry. I love every ounce of my children. I love their unique qualities, their funny nature and the things that make them who they are. But when I send them out into the world, whether I am with them or not, I worry about how they are perceived and if they are being treated fairly.

My daughter as a baby and toddler and now my toddler son tend to be cautious and have an expression that makes people wonder if they are sleepy or angry. As babies, they tend to observe and hold back. I still get a bit annoyed when people say, “oh, what’s wrong with him?” or “is he tired?” I’m not sure why it bothers me; I do not expect my children to please other people. I am slowly evolving away from being a “people pleaser” myself because it is not healthy to live for others. Yet, some deep, dark hidden part of me wants everyone in the world to see my children as I see them: sweet, smart and perfect.

My daughter is really coming “in to her own.” She is not quite so cautious, quiet or reserved anymore. As a baby and toddler she was quiet and focused, she almost never threw tantrums or whined and we prided her and our parenting (ha!) on these qualities. Now, she is an exuberant girl who loves life. She is funny, excitable and very social and these are wonderful qualities.

I met with her teacher today because I, along with two other moms, am going to be a room mom. While planning the upcoming Halloween party, we each mentioned funny things about our kids and issues we may be having at home. I jokingly said, “Is it normal for a 5, almost 6 years old, to regress in some ways?” I meant that my daughter is testing her boundaries and pushing her limits lately. She argues, defies, whines, meanders, and day dreams lately. I believe that she is evolving and changing just as we all do throughout life. There will be times where she tests new behaviors and ideas. And I know this because I did and do it today. We are human and we are ever-evolving in the midst of just being.

The teacher looked at me somewhat seriously and said, “um, no, not really.” This was not the answer I sought, I wanted to hear a joking, “oh, yes, my kid….” or “they do and it’s normal.” I am not seriously concerned about my daughter but yet still seek reassurance that she is doing okay and following the “normal” path. Her teacher went on to say how my daughter usually focuses well but this week has been daydreaming and not focusing on her work. That need to have the teacher compliment my child and say how wonderfully she is doing creates anxiety and worry in me that something is wrong with my daughter. I know nothing is wrong other than she is a small child figuring out her world just as her brother, myself and every other human being.

As I come down from my worries realizing that I am, yet again, over analyzing the situation, I think on my own life and how I have grown from the learning experiences put on my path. I remember the advice and logic that I readily offer to friends and I start to relax. I then come around again to that place of love and acceptance of my daughter and my son for who they are even if it is not some mold of perfection. It is the same place I have come to with myself over the years. I will likely have these moments again of worry, anxiety, speculation and projection but I think I will always be able to get back to peace and acceptance if I can just remember my new mantra:

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22 thoughts on “LaWanda is LaWanda

  1. We all do it. Then we don’t. Then we do. Perfectly normal. Teacher sounds like a dipstick. Kids do the strangest of things and it’s still all normal in the spectrum of childhood behaviour. She should know that. Dipstick!
    There isn’t a child born who doesn’t, at times, confound. It’s the adults that get me. ‘)x

    • Thanks so much for being in my corner! She’s actually a pretty nice teacher, but I agree her response was dipstick-ish. My girl is awesome and normal and great…she is just testing her boundaries and my patience lately but a lot of any troubles I have are in large part due to my response. I’m learning not to sweat the small stuff. She certainly doesn’t have any confidence issues…tonight at dinner she told us she is the best one in the class. lovely 😉

  2. My sister’s newest baby is a thoughtful one, she always has a look of consternation that took us a bit to figure out! Life is so much easier when you stop with the comparisons (which is the latest goal I’ve been working on, and it’s so much easier said than done!) and I totally disagree with the teacher – I’ve found it is very normal for kids to regress. That’s why the question is asked “have there been any changes at home?” It’s to see if something has happened to make the child regress. So, yeah, that teacher was wrong. In my opinion. Which I totally believe to be 100% correct. Okay. 99.5% correct. I’ll allow some room for error. Some, not much. cause I’m right on this one. 🙂

    I completely agree with you about criticism coming from worry, I’ve never thought about it like that, but it makes so much sense! There are times that I have to bite my tongue to allow Mr. T to be Mr. T, and looking back – it is from worry! Wow – you are so smart!

    P.S. My friends have said “Kate is Kate” or “That’s just Kate” on more than one occasion… I’m suddenly really proud of that!

    • I love that Kate is Kate because you definitely seem like one self -assured one of a kind mama! Yes, both of my kids always looked like serious little babies out in public, kinda funny to me. Comparisons are hard, it takes conscious effort not to get wrapped up in the nonsense of it. Thanks for the kudos too. xo

  3. Adorable picture! I’m definitely guilty of comparing my kids and questioning/soliciting encouragement from their teachers. You already know my girls came 3 months early. We watched them like a hawk during their first two years, developmental and speech therapists came to the house twice a month. We had preemie milestone checkups twice a year with developmental, physicial and OT therapists. If they so much as burped behind the adjusted gestational schedule I was aware. Thank God Almighty that the babies caught up developmentally around age two, as the doctors said they would. Since then, I have kept a critical eye on the girls, quietly comparing them to their peers, hoping if something was off that I could spot it in time to get help. My girls are perfectly normal – and I’m finally understanding that normal encompases a range. One is a deep thinking princess drama queen. The other is a laid back, quick acting sporty spice. I had to learn to appreciate and understand the ‘range’. Part of Momming well is watching out for anything amiss, so I think you’re doing an awesome job.

    • ha! thanks…I was feeling silly and needing some weight lifted after yesterday’s heavy post and after all of my over thinking. I guess most of my posts are a bit heavy, humor is not my strong suit. Thanks for sharing your worries and comparisons that you’ve done with yours. All parents do it though we try not to. Thanks for the kudos. She is a great girl and just being a kid!

    • She is a totally normal 5 yr old. I think I used the wrong word in my humor and she took me too seriously when I said “regressed.” Thanks for the pump up too…always appreciated! Xo

  4. Wow, you and I really are a lot alike. That said, what I’m about to say is about ME, not what I’ve interpreted about you through this insightful post.

    I am so self-critical, and also too critical of others, especially those closest to me (family, and in particular, my children). I know how I felt when my perfectionist and very critical mother made passing criticism of me, and vowed not to do it with my kids. And yet…history is doomed to repeat itself. I never really considered that ‘critical due to worry’ angle, and it does make sense. I totally get how you through the humorous remark out in hopes that the teacher would jovially respond with reassurance. I do that all the time. And I’m always deflated when the humor-less (often devoid of personaility) other person stares at me blankly and gives me a clinical response. From one (older) mom to another, if you do have even the slightest worry that something might be wrong, go see a doctor about it. Don’t let it worry you sick.

    • Thanks for relating and your thoughtful comment. I’m honestly not worried about her. She tries my patience lately as she is gaining her independence. Letting your child gain independence can be hard when she’s still so little, just getting into elementary school and full of pride. While here I am on the sidelines wanting to be with her every step of the way. I had a good vent with my mom and she said this is “mama growing pains”. I don’t think I criticize her necessarily, but I do analyze her probably more than necessary because i just want the best for my kids, as we all do.I probably should not use humor as a passive way for reassurance in those cases and just directly ask. Which I do sometimes too. I hate being misunderstood frustrating.

  5. Great post! I often over analyze things myself…especially when people make comments like that. I start to self-doubt and then it just goes down hill from there. It’s a work in progress to fix that haha

    • Yes! I’m also the birthday recognition committee chair (ha! Serious title, right?) and will hand cupcakes out to kids with bdays that month at lunch on Halloween…teachers are gonna be exhausted Halloween night!

  6. I love this Kerry! I used to over think everything too especially when it comes to the kids and that caused me to worry a lot. But you know what? Majority of the things I worry about the most never happened. My son is doing fine at school and my little one seems to be loving her toddler-hood. You are doing a great job Kerry!

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