To Each His Own

Paige is home for spring break this week, although it’s not technically spring yet (and the weather here in Illinois reflects that).  She requested a week of just hanging out and relaxing, with home-cooked meals, so the biggest excitement so far this week has been a trip to the beauty supply store.

I bought GVP Sculpting Mousse, which I’ve never tried before, and Paige was checking it out.  We both have curly hair, but hers is long, full and gorgeous, with more of a slight wave on top and then super-curly curls on the bottom.  For the past three years I’ve been really into the “curly girl” method of hair care, and I spend a lot of time over at reading forums and keeping up on new products and ways to keep my hair healthy, and the curls curly instead of limp or frizzy.  Paige, however, just isn’t that into the mechanics of her gorgeous hair, and I can tell it frustrates her when I get a little overzealous.

She tried the mousse, and we both exclaimed over how good it smelled (she called it Pina Colada, I called it Coconut Cream Pie).  After she put it in her hair, I said, “Oh, now you have to scrunch it up to get the curl going.”  I started to scrunch the bottom of her hair and she backed away.  “MOM.  I don’t want that.”  I kind of froze and realized that I’m the one who really likes to scrunch and get my curl going; Paige prefers more of a beach wave and doesn’t necessarily want the tight curls that come so naturally to her.

Paige with her non-scrunched curly hair

Paige with her non-scrunched curly hair

This happened a lot as my kids were growing up.  When they’re babies, you think of them as little versions of you.  (Or at least I did!)  I imagined all the things I’d do with them as they grew up – all the books from my childhood I couldn’t wait to share with them, all the activities I enjoyed so much.  Eric came along first, and as he grew from a baby to a toddler I started to get an inkling that he wasn’t going to share in a lot of my interests.  I spent a lot of time coming up with crafts we could do together, but it didn’t take long to realize he didn’t have the attention span for most of them.  He hated getting his hands dirty, so clay, ‘goop’ (the cornstarch and water stuff) and even finger paints kind of freaked him out.

Eric, fascinated and disgusted by Goop

Eric, fascinated and disgusted by Goop

By the time he was three, it was obvious he preferred pretend games.  He loved action figures, transformers, trains, anything where he could create a little world for his ‘guys’ and their vehicles.  This bored me to tears, although I’d gamely sit down and try to play along.  (My dad was much better at this!)

By the time Paige came along, when Eric was four, I was so used to not bothering with any kind of craft or painting activity that it took me a while to realize she might actually like it.  By the time I started her on crafts, she was old enough to just want to do it herself.

Crafty Paige - "Thanks mom, I'll do this myself!"

Crafty Paige – “Thanks mom, I’ll do this myself!”

Same with books – I envisioned sitting with her and introducing her to Laura Ingalls Wilder when she was old enough.  That day came, I brought out the books I’d saved from my childhood…and Paige was not interested.  “Eh, they’re kind of boring,” she said, as she turned back to the books she preferred (on animals and babysitting).  I couldn’t believe it!  How could neither of my kids enjoy Laura, or A Wrinkle in Time?!  It was just another lesson for me – they aren’t me.  They each had their own interests, separate from me.

I know my own mom must have seen this with me – I was quiet and shy, while my mom was outgoing and the life of the party.  I preferred to stay alone in my room, reading, while she implored me to give friends a call to see if they wanted to hang out, or go to parties, or anything to get me out of the house.  I would spend hours writing letters to pen pals or just listening to music in my room.  I know she probably thought I was sad and lonely, because I imagine she would have felt that way if she was alone as much as I was as a kid.  But I liked it – I’m really an introvert, and it exhausts me to be around big groups of people after a while.  We were just different.  When I was a kid, I kind of felt bad, like I wasn’t the type of daughter my mom wanted.  Now that I’ve grown up and had my own kids, I can completely see where she was coming from.  It just takes a while to realize that these little people you created will grow up and be so separate from you, with totally different personalities and interests.

So now I just try to enjoy my two very different, very individual children for the people they are.  They introduce me to new interests, and they tolerate me when I slip up and forget they aren’t younger versions of me.  (No more scrunching, Paige — I promise!)

My all-grown-up, very individual kids

My all-grown-up, very individual kids


About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on March 16, 2013, in Family, Not Related to Hearing Loss and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Well, it took a while, but I did eventually get into crafts! Admittedly mine are a tad different and significantly more expensive nowadays (what I wouldn’t do for a couple yards of cracked pigskin *sigh*), but if it weren’t for all the craft supplies you had at the ready when I was a kid, I never would’ve been able to develop this passion for fashion! And this also brings to mind something that I’ve thought about a lot over the years; the change in perspective that a child experiences when they realize that their parents are not just magical beings placed on earth to do things for them. That their parents are people themselves, with passions and habits all their own, people that made enormous personal sacrifices for the sake of furthering the child’s life. It’s interesting for me to see that from the other side, of a parent realizing that their children are not little copies of themselves. Sorry for rambling, this post just made me think quite a bit, haha!

    Though don’t let yourself think that we didn’t take *anything* from your personality; the Depeche Mode poster on my door and the sewing machine next to me prove that! And speaking of that, I’ve got some pants to finish~


    • You know, this is the kind of thing every parent waits to hear…you realize I’m a person! 🙂 Seriously though, especially with you since you were first, I had many moments where I was just blown away by the fact that now I was actually a mom and responsible for you — kind of like I’d fudged a resume and gotten a job I wasn’t really qualified for. (Luckily for you I grew into the role, huh?! ha ha)

      I love that DM poster — that’s the Depeche Mode I grew up with (although they aren’t too shabby now). Although I didn’t mention it in the post above, I definitely do see where my influences come through in both you and Paige, and I love that. But it really was a little hard for me to let go and let you guys embrace your own interests and grow into your own people. And I still need to slap myself every now and then and remember to back off when I want to take over and do things the way I would do them. 😉

      I love you, honey — good luck on those pants!


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