"Look at me! Lookatmeeeeee!!!! Look what I can do! See?! See!?! See!" as my 5 year old, curly blonde haired, gorgeous and stunning blue eyed sweetness twirls around the living room.
Remember doing that when you were a kid?
I remember doing the lamest and goofiest, non-awesomest things when I was younger, all the while squealing at the top of my middle-child lungs "Look!!! LooK!!!!!" hoping for a glance from my parents and an "Amazing!! You're amazing!!" word of encouragement from their lips. Rare to be found, those words. I was in competition between an artistic older brother, and an angelic vocalist younger sister. (I had nada).
I'd try and try to find my place in the talent that seemed to fill my family tree by dancing like a ballerina and pretending that I knew how to play the piano- but instead of getting happy back pats from my parents, I seemed to annoy them more than anything else.
I didn't know where I belonged, and I wasn't sure what I needed to do to be the kid that got the praises that I so wanted to get. I heard a lot of "you're so pretty" and "nice try", but not much of that strong, sincere "Whoo HOO, Good JOB!".
I've been wondering if maybe I project much of my childhood miss's on my children?
For example: My oldest is super artistic and an outstanding reader. We praise her ability and tell her how amazing she is- and include character compliments and gratitude for her willingness to be such a great helper to her mommy and daddy.
My youngest is just CUTE and sweet and super adorable. She's fun (and exhausting) and silly; We tell her by the attention that we give her just how great we think she is.
And then there's our middle child. Anyone that's EVER been a middle child is already putting your hearts pity toward our precious 5 year old. You know what it feels like, don't you? The Middle Child.
Not old enough to get the priveledges, and not young enough to get away with ANYTHING!
Without filling her with fluff (because I refuse to lie to my children about WHO THEY are) I try extra hard to find ways to tell our middle that she's awesome. Yes- she's a great reader and a great artist, too- but those are the thing she's heard her parents say to her sister (they don't seem to 'belong' to her). And she is SO cute and silly and fun (and exhausting), but again- she hears those things about her little sister.
Our middle needs to find her individuality, the same way that I wanted to find my own- and it's a big job for this Mommy to stand beside her, cheering her on, while she finds it.
It's true that her older sister can easily "outshine" her and her younger sister can quickly pull attention "away" from her- so she most definitenly needs extra doses of encouaging words and one-on-one focus from mommy and daddy.
When we are consistent in telling our 5 year old how GREAT she is, I see a difference in her joy. When our 5 year old is driving us CRAZY with disobedient behavior and a bad attitude- thus causing her to get in more 'trouble' than normal, I see a SERIOUS difference in her joy.
All she wants is to hear "You. Are. Awesome." She lives for pleasing and pleasant and loving words from her parents, her peers, and her authority figures. Is that a middle child thing? A girl thing? A personality thing?
I don't know- but I just realized that I can relate to my little girl very well.
I want to hear that I am amazing from my husband, and my peers and my authority figures. NOT only do I want that encouragement, but I wanna know ALL ABOUT why it is that somebody thinks I'm amazing- details, details, details.
Who doesn't want to hear an edification? Especially "us" Mommy's. We are HUNGRY for that affirmation. Some of us may have husbands that are super at complimenting the 'good works' we've done, and there are some of us that have to pull the eye teeth from our spouses to get them to recognize that they might possibly need to be a little bit more giving with their affirming words.
Either way- I've come to the conclusion that whether it be a girl thing, or a middle child thing- a mommy thing or a personality thing- we ALL want somebody to tell us that We Are Amazing.
I'm so glad that God thinks I'm amazing, and that my children believe that I am, too. And (when he remembers to voice it) that my husband does, as well.
Now? I have to be willing to Tell "ME" that I'm amazing (and believe it).
10 months ago