Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The girl with the curl

My mum used to recite that all the time when I was little. Or, that's how I remember it now. I couldn't tell you if she ever said it directly to me but it still feels like a defining poem.

My little girl, at the age of one, is a definite Girl with a Curl. She's an absolute delight to be around, except on the rare occasion when she's hideous. She is fiercely determined to get her own way, especially when it isn't my way, and her independence knows no bounds. There are times I want to scream at her mood swings - and then realise the reason for my irritability at her sudden change in temper is my own challenging and interchangeable mood.

Faced with a fall resulting from too many steps too quickly, or a bang on the head from a chair that appeared from nowhere, she won't cry, or need a cuddle. She'll get angry, and try again. Thwarted by a pesky piece of pear slipping around on the plate, she'll sooner go without it then accept me picking it up and offering it to her. And woe betide me or anyone else coming between her and her own way, whatever that looks like. That girl has an incredible set of lungs on her and she's not afraid to use them. I spend a lot of time trying not to shout back. Because that will teach her that answering shouting with shouting is right and I don't want that. It doesn't mean that isn't my natural inclination though...

It's incredible how much of my curly personality this little girl has inherited. Meanwhile, I'm trying to straighten my curls like crazy so she learns from a decent role model, rather than the equally hotheaded mother she has.

There's a flip side to being a curly girly though. To have a curly side requires feist. It needs a streak of defiance which can mean tenacity, determination and a will to achieve what we set out to achieve. It means we have passion - and that whilst we have an opinion on everything, it's because we care enough to have researched and then formed one.

I try to remember this when we're at loggerheads, like this morning when we were getting dressed happily until she decided she wanted to put her top on (she can't yet), I insisted on helping, so she slapped me and threw the top on the floor. 'We don't hit people. It doesn't show love and it makes me feel so sad when you do that' is what comes out of my mouth in a calm tone - but really I can completely sympathise. I once threw my hairbrush across my bedroom so vehemently that it snapped in two - because my hair wouldn't 'go right'. And I was 16. She's only 1.
A very curly girly... Love this film!

I'm dreading the phases when we'll undoubtedly clash - and the areas we'll likely clash on, if she's as precocious and full of 'right' opinions like I was for so many years. I think I've mellowed and become more open minded and reasonable as I've gotten older - but that might just be compared to how I used to be; you could meet me and still think I'm self-righteous and supercilious. (I hope not, but it's definitely possible.)

Teen years aside (which I'm already bracing myself for), I think the positives of this family trait outweigh the negatives. I'm looking forward to helping my little munchkin look up information on the latest thing she has to know all about, to debating opposite views and learning tolerance for other opinions. I can't wait to see her stick to her guns and hold tight to her beliefs, whatever they are. To seeing her strength of self and her sense of justice blossom and encouraging her to use these things do do something tangible or proactive. Because if there's something that a Curly Girly isn't, it's apathetic or unmotivated.

Maybe, thinking about it, I shouldn't be trying to straighten my curls - because then she won't have the kind of role model that I want her to have. I don't want to be flat. Maybe I just need a good dose of personality Frizzease to help tame those curls and keep them beautiful and shiny rather then wild and ugly. Because as Girls with a Curl, we can choose to embrace the parts of this character that are valuable and with so many great parts, I'm proud that my girl has a distinctive curl of her own.