I think it's because I think I know what's best for them. But there was something that I battled within myself for some time. Something that I wanted to send my five year old for, but I didn't quite know how it would turn out.
Sometimes we sign our kids up for stuff or bring them to activities because we know they'd have fun and enjoy making new friends or pick up a skill. This thing was a bit tricky. It was a fun thing but let's just say it would put my daughter in very unfamiliar surroundings.
My husband and I had long discussions about this. Yes we think it is important to expose our kids to different situations so that they're not sheltered throughout, and that they can learn from different scenarios. This was one good example. That's what the logical parent in me thought. The mummy in me however said, "Yes, but there's are certain situations that can be postponed, and perhaps five is a bit too you go or her to be thrown into something so unknown?"
Like I said, many long discussions with my husband, followed by many internal battles. We finally decided to let her go for it. It was something we knew she would enjoy. She's an energetic, friendly, very sociable five year old; should be no problem for her to fit right in and find a best friend straight away right?
There are perhaps few things more emotionally painful than for a mother to stand and watch her child feeling all left out and nervous. But I had to do that. I told her I would stand right there till I felt she was comfortable and then leave because I wasn't supposed to stay.
To her credit, she tried her best to fit in and didn't even look at me. She'd forgotten I was there. Which, on hindsight, could have been a bit of a blow to me, but looking at the situation on hand, I am more proud of her at having done what she needed to do instead of worrying about silly ole Mama's emotions.
I was always taught to stand out, to be different to be seen and heard, and I've taught my daughter the same thing. Today I saw that all she wanted to do was to blend in. That she wanted nothing more but to fit right in and be like everyone else. That was a big lump in my throat to swallow. Had I been wrong all along? Does fitting in fit her better? I don't know. Perhaps in this situation, that was true.
I sensed that all my five year old wanted to do was fit in with everyone else and for that split second, I felt like a five year old me again, feeling the same way because I was much taller than my friends. Because I was the only one with short hair. Because I didn't have Barbie dolls.
Watching her struggling to fit in almost made me want to run to her and hug her and carry her off and say "Oh this is too much, let's go for something familiar. Like a big chocolate ice cream so you can laugh and smile be you again. Not this scared little child. Please be you again!! I miss you!"
But I had to control myself. I have to let her learn. So I left. And just as I did, I saw her laughing a little. She was really trying to make friends.
Perhaps, I'm worrying too much. I can't help it. I'm a mother. I'm her mother, that's my job. Perhaps she enjoyed herself so much the minute I left. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
All I know is that from now, I will discuss with my daughter for things I'd like to sign her up for, and seek her opinion. She may be a child but her thoughts count as well.
I may be a Mama and the kids may think I know everything, but I still have a lot to learn.
4 hours. That's a long time for a mum to spend aimlessly wandering around without another child to drag along nor errands to run. But I couldn't stay there. I had to get out. I also didn't have any mood to do anything. So I just sat at the closest shopping mall with a drink and cried. I think Poppy and I will go for a big ice cream later. We both deserve it.