Months ago, I saw that turtle was saying "thank you" and using it appropriately. I was glowingly proud of this. We hadn't taught her that; we hadn't TOLD her to say it. She started it, all on her own. It was one of my proudest Ina moments. She was reflecting the environment she was being raised in. A child who is respected learns to respect others.
I pride myself on the fact that I parent naturally. I don't succumb to what ideologies "society" thinks makes a great child. I parent from the heart and in the moment. But sometimes, I mess up.
I was out and about today wiht turtle and we stopped to see someone we knew to relay an important message about an umpcoming event. This woman really enjoys turtle and engages her whenever she can. However, turtle was not feeling like conversation today, so she smiled and buried her head into my neck. I suddenly felt like I had to justify why my child wasn't talking. I felt like I had assure the woman my daughter wasn't being "rude." But really I was abandoning my self and worse, my daughter, for being exactly who she was in that exact moment. She had done nothing wrong, and I fell into the old school need to have my daughter appear to be "well mannered." Even as aware as I am about respecting my daughter's wishes and needs, I became aware that we can slip into the kind of "socialization" we were brought up with and mistakenly take it out on our children.
Maybe I'll have to write this down, and print it up so that I remember in those times of wavering. A reminder to myself to allow turtle to be who she is at any given moment, without excuse or justification; but rather faith and pride that she knows she is free to be and feel whatever she needs to.