Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just call me Grasshopper: Lessons from a 7 year old Master

About a week ago I posted this to The Twitter:

“Today I am in breathless awe of my child. I learned some really big, truly amazing, & very important things about life thanks to her.”

So true was this thought, so intense was this feeling; that I felt a visceral imperative to write it down and send it ‘out there’.

One of the really big lessons was about trusting myself as a mama, trusting that I know my kid and that we are "in tune" with one another much of the time. The second part of this lesson is trusting her and knowing that when she is allowed to be truly herself, she feels safe and happy and can accomplish great things.

Another very important lesson is this: Yes I Can!

Last week we were a couple of hours away from heading to a play date and Pony Girl turned to me and said, "I want to sew a dress Mama."
"Ok," says I, "Maybe tomorrow we can try."
"No, now! I want to make a dress for my play date."
"Honey, we don't have time, we can't make a dress right now." I reply.
"Yes I can!" She says with absolute certainty.
"I'm sorry honey, we can't."
So she walks up to me, cups my face in her hands and says, "It's o.k. mom, trust me. Yes I can."

And she did!
We made a sketch, chose the fabric, had a plan and just started. She has used my sewing machine only once before to sew a simple square of fabric, but this was a whole dress! I did the ironing parts and she, this amazing kid, sewed every seam, hem, and detail on her dress! Going slow, "It is important to be careful and slow so I make less mistakes." she says. Her concentration is total. I tell her to keep the fabric straight and...and...hover. She tells me, "Mom, I got it, don't worry, relax!"

Why am I so surprised? She told me she could do it, she knew she could do it, and she did. Not only is my crafty mama's heart bursting with pride that my 7 year old made her very first dress, but my lion mama heart wants to show and tell the world what this awesome kid has done! More specifically, I want to show her 1st grade teacher. The one who said she couldn't focus, the one who wanted to wash her hands of her when she couldn't force the results she wanted out of Pony Girl, the one who said she belonged in an alternative placement classroom (I visited 2 of those classrooms) where she so very obviously did not fit the criteria, and the one who made her feel less than.

As I watch her play with her friends, overhear her say, "Sure, I can make you a dress too!" as she walks up to kids on the playground and introduces herself and asks if they want to play...I want to tell that teacher that her tremendous concern over Pony Girl's lack of social skills is entirely unfounded.

See, if you listen to them, if you trust them, if you encourage them, if you let them be themselves, if you can shift your perspective and really see them, if you believe in them - they might just believe in themselves.

Yes, I learned that from her. I keep learning how truly amazing life is, how good it can be despite all of the challenges; how sometimes when we learn how to navigate through some of those challenges, we find out we are the heroes of our own lives.

She is my hero!





33 comments:

Debby said...

Do you read Goosegirl Sews. She just posted today about her daughter making a dress, The little girl is 6. So amazed at your daughter' talent and determination. You go Pony Girl.

Floss said...

Super post - and so encouraging in every sense! What lovely photos of your inspirational daughter. I'm working with a boy who's been similarly 'written off', but like you, his mum is sticking in there with him and wow, is he going to show them..?

Flaming Nora said...

in an odd sort of way, I'm glad to know that teachers suck in the U.S too. It never ceases to amaze me how many people become teachers who have absolutley no idea of how a child's mind works. How their thought processes and reasoning are so very different to an adults. How they don't have the concentration an adult does, how they don't listen in the way an adult does, and yet how they can take a quantum leap in seconds that would leave us all way behind and some what baffled. And your mountain is a steeper one to climb than mine, and yet it would seem no less rocky.

greenrabbitdesigns said...

What a great post, what an amazing girl and what a beautiful dress!!
I think we've all met these kind of teachers, the kind who want all kids to come straight out of a text book!
Vivienne x

eskimo*rose said...

What a fabulous story - I want to show it to her first grade teacher too! ... and I'd also like her to teach me to sew!!!

Lis said...

I have a stubborn three year old who won't perform for others. It is an everyday struggle for me not to break her to my will just so that she will fit in and I will feel like a 'good' parent. Keep it up!

Sherri B. said...

I have a lump in my throat...I am proud of her 'and' you. She will go far with a mom like you who believes in her and lets her be that super special person, the one of a kind, that she was created to be.

I'm sure that the dress she made is the most beautiful dress you have ever seen. xxoo

Iris Vank said...

What an amazing post and what a very cute daughter and dress! :)

jennie said...

LOVE this post, so much.
Some people have these 'set' expectations of our children and do not give them the chance to show what they can do. Or put them down/joke when they are creative or think outside the box. It is so crazy!!
What great determination and insight PG has!XX

Itchin' Stitchin' said...

Pony girl is amazing! The dress she made is beautiful.
Unfortunately I truly believe our school system here in the states has a lot to learn. Not every child fits in a mold or feels the same at the same exact moments.
With a mom as wonderful an encouraging as you are, PG will thrive - it's so wonderful to read about your parenting style, it's very much like my own ♥

chris said...

I love the balance of heartwarming pride and joy mixed with a touch of "in your face!" trash talk. This is spectaularly awesome!

Rosamargarita said...

Ella es una Diosa!
Un abrazo
GRACIAS por no tener palabra de verificación

teddybearswednesday said...

A wonderful post and story, she's my hero too ( having never sewed a dress myself).
its funny in a way i've been thinking a bit about the issue or part of it myself. It's such a pity that as we grow older we loose that belief in ourselves the ability to do things and not be so critical. it's why i think childrens drawings are the best, they don't worry so much if it looks like what it's meant to be as we do as we get older. And yes we shouldn't let our own doubts get in the way, and trust more in their ( and our own) abilities.
And missy I think it says something pretty fabulous about you as a mumma that you raised a girl with such a strong sense of belief in herself. YAY to you both xo
PS By Jesus I've got the rambles again !

vintage grey said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post!! I am so proud of her, and what a great mom she has who supports her!! She is an amazing girl, and such a blessing!! Her dress is perfect and sweet!! xo Heather

Ted and Agnes said...

So proud of you both & that's one cracking dress...rxxx

dosierosie said...

That had me close to tears, what a lovely post. The dress is lovely and your daughter is beautiful as well as talented.
Gillx

Lindsay Jewell said...

:)

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Dear Pony Girl, that is one awesome dress! And you are one special young lady, no wonder your Moma is so proud! She sounds like a pretty special Moma too, it's way easier to say no than yes when time is short, and especially when sharp needles that whizz along are involved. But she said yes anyway, she trusted you, and there you are in your pretty frock. Go the girl who knew she could! And Go the mother who believed her!

june at noon said...

Awesome dress. She's an amazing kid! It always makes me sad to hear about teachers who can't give kids a chance when they're a little "different" in some way--and usually they're defining "different" by some narrow, nonsensical standard. Sometimes I wonder why certain people even chose to be teachers.... Sigh. Glad you learned your lessons from such a cute teacher! :)

Fledgling said...

Dear, dear, dearest Pony Girl! Your tiny light is so bright, it shines like a laser beam. Alex, I know this child is got great things to do and good works to achieve. And momma, you are spot on: "Mother" is somewhere between "smother" and "other"...holding tightly and protectively and letting the child be her own other person, I think. You (and I...I'll throw myself in there...) started out puttering about with our fabrics and sewing machines to make things for our kids...and just LOOK at what happened! Look at what she already learned from that! Look at who she is becoming because of that!

XO -Nancy

Grammy Braxton said...

What an awesome child you have and what an awesome mother she has. It takes courage to trust your child's instincts (being the older and wiser on) and you have that courage. Your child will go far. Trust your instincts concerning your child and do not let someone else tell you what you know is not true. I have been there with my children and I trusted them and they were right. Love your blog. I'm a new follower.

Colette said...

Love this post, if you believe in your kids then they believe in themselves. This just proves it. You must be mighty proud of her achievements and your own. I'm welling up over here, can't wait to see her next creations! x

harmony and rosie said...

This is for Pony Girl -
Dear Pony Girl, you are so cool and I am going to tell my daughter all about you. I think your dress is awesome and I'm just wondering, I know you and your mom are probably too busy but maybe you could do a short tutorial so we can see how you made such a perfect dress?
Love Kate xx

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for over a year now and not commented before but this one I have to! I am a mum of 3 in a small village in the UK and took my children to the local playgroup. 6 months in I was told my son was the worse child they had ever had, badly behaved and uncontrollable, I thought they were right and stayed there and put my son through what must have been hell for him, until I discovered a nursery attached to a school 3 miles away. Wow they actually cared, stimulated and encouraged him and he is now in year 2 and thriving. I have just had an excellent school report and am desperate to go back and show them?!! I am actually more annoyed that I allowed myself to bother about what they thought and didnt trust in myself more. So have faith in yourself and what you have produced and so will I.

Anonymous said...

I'm twenty now and have such happy memories of my mum showing me how to sew. What a lovely mumma you are and such a clever sweet girl you have.
Beth xxx

millefeuilles said...

Dear Pony Girl,

You are amazing. I suspect your mother is amazing too though. Here in France we say; cats don't give birth to puppies - no of course they don't - which simply means children are as wonderful as the parents that raise them.

Your dress is amazing and your confidence shines through those beautiful photographs of you. Keep leaping forwards in life, dear,lovely child. You will go far along your own sweet path.

Stephanie

Nice to meet you, by the way ;-)

Mare said...

I know you BOTH can do anything you put your hearts and minds to. Don't listen to anyone who says differently. They are sorely mistaken. I love you both...mare
PS- Pony Girl, i LOVE your dress!!!

Susan Being Snippy said...

I grew up in the 1950's. If you were average you fit in well, if you were not it was a struggle. My children grew up in the 1980's. If you were average you fit in well, if you were not it was a struggle. And now it seems that the education is much the same, tho they pretend it is not. I tried to give my sons freedom to do the things they enjoyed and wanted to accomplish, neither is famous or rich but they both hold jobs that suit them and they are happy men today... You are doing a great job, fame and fortune is not the goal, happiness is...

Claire said...

Wow, what an amazing little girl! I feel sad that I have never met her (or you) even though I'm family (your husband's cousin!). :-)

Have you considered homeschooling? We have been doing so since my now-18yo was 8. I have another who is 16, and learns differently than the way they teach in school. I am sure the public school would have tried to put him in "special ed," which I knew would crush him.

ANYWAY, "Hi" and nice to meet you!

Ash said...

I just love the photos! I also wanted to let you know that I featured your blog on mine. I just love your blog - thanks so much for sharing with the world!

jus said...

She truly is a star xxx
P.S. SHOW THE TEACHER!

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

Hi, I too have my own Pony Girl, sometimes I just want to shout out to everyone what a special, unique, fantastic person she is. People often only see what's on the surface, they aren't always bothered to look beneath. You should be proud, she's AMAZING! Ada :)

Heather said...

I loved your story. Her dress is awesome and pictures are great. What an important thing for all mom's to know.