Having kids changes you in profound ways – or it should. There are really some self-centered, trash parents out here but let’s keep it positive Reiko!
The older my kids get, the more I see their personalities develop. It’s a joy to witness how they take in the world and make it make sense to them. One thing I didn’t realize I was against until I had children was the idea of having mini-mes. It’s a term of endearment. It’s the goal of every parent. It’s harmless, right? But I’ve resolved that creating a miniature robot who looks like me (that’s inevitable thanks to genetics) and acts like me is not really me winning at life.
Every parent wants their child to do better than they did. To learn more, to go farther, to be smarter. That much still is true but I think it does every child a disservice to attach this idea that they are smaller, friendlier versions of their parents.
Recently, I discovered that my 5-year-old likes zombies. I HATE zombies! I don’t even like the Thriller video! That doesn’t mean I won’t break into the routine on you, though. Her dad plays Zombie video games every now and then and she happily sits next to him and watches. But it wasn’t until I saw her belt out a song from a dancing Disney movie, The Zombies, that I realized that she did not inherit my intolerance for all things zombies.
I was a little surprised but also a little proud because it meant that she is already making decisions on her own without relying heavily on my biases. In most cases that is a parent’s worst fear but for now, I’m proud of it. I see so many times that kids are expected to stop crying on cue or to dance for someone on cue and really it is so unfair. We don’t always remember that although they are shorter than us and rely on us for all things important, they indeed are emotional beings. Beings that get frustrated, irritated, nervous, frightened or even God forbid…tired. We don’t expect kids to get tired. I’ve been guilty of it but honestly how can I expect a child not to be tired when I get tired every day?
As Zara grows up, I want her to be empowered to think for herself but still know that we are here for support. Really if you think about it, we are here just to support our kids as they navigate life.
Being a “mini-me” doesn’t really allow a child to walk into their individuality, into their own light. We at least owe them that. Or do we?
On another note, don’t let this post distract you from the fact that it is totally okay to dress like your kid while you still have a chance. That time is limited anyway before they shut that down – you’re allowed that at least!