On our way home from the grocery store today, Madeline asked why there were always bad guys in books and movies. We spent the next fifteen minutes talking about protagonists, antagonists, plots and storylines. She now has plans for a book about a seven year old girl named Madeline who fights a polar bear while climbing a mountain. Madeline wins the fight, of course. The polar bear is the antagonist, incase you were wondering.
A few hours later as we sat down to our (trying to be) weekly tea party, she asked if she could tell me what a “hypopasis” is. She gave me a pretty decent description of a hypothesis and we discussed the subject a little further before moving on to different things. Like telling mom how the stegosaurus would cool itself, and by the way, did you know a stegosaurus had 17 plates?!
Madeline has been reading for over a year now. I didn’t push it on her, simply showed her the ropes when she showed interest.
She can describe the work of her favorite artist, Jackson Pollock, and some days she can name a few other famous artists like Van Gogh and Monet, but they do have hard names, so it’s not always a given ;) We’re cutting her some slack, she is only four.
When we were given a drafting table Madeline chose to spend an hour out in the garage, just so she could use it, because that’s what artists do. (I haven’t found space for it inside yet)
She loves hiking and exploring. Doesn’t mind getting dirty one bit.
I don’t share all of this to brag about what an awesome, intelligent kid I have. Although she is both of those things ;) She has never set foot in a classroom, we don’t do any sort of formal learning at home, she just has a lot of great questions and a brain like a sponge.
Madeline also loves dressing up. She loves lip gloss, painting her nails, clip on earrings, having her hair curled and being a princess. She loves hearing she is beautiful. Loves being told her dress is cute. Loves to twirl for you and wouldn’t mind one bit if you wanted to take her picture.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the parenting articles, specifically those that give advice on how to raise girls. I struggle to know if I’m teaching her to be strong and independent enough without crushing the gentle femininity that naturally encircles her.
I long for her to know she can be whatever she wants to be, which right now happens to be an astronaut mom. I hope she knows she can continue to be smart, strong and hardworking all while wearing a little lip gloss.
I struggle to know if I give her enough healthy challenges without ruining the simplicity of her childhood.
School is a topic that puts me on the verge of an anxiety attack. Public? Private? Homeschooled? Unschooled? Montessori? I don’t want her to be bored or spoiled, but I want her to be challenged, happy and have fun. She longs for regular social interaction…. *sigh* It’s just so overwhelming.
So here I am, the mother of a daughter of God who is timid and brave, smart, kind and beautiful. Doing my best to follow her where her free heart and love of learning takes her. Ready to sometimes let her fall, but always be there pick her up and dust her off when she does. Hoping she knows how much she is capable of. Hoping she continues to love this beautiful thing called life. Above all, hoping she knows how very much she is loved.