To this day my mother finds it necessary to tell me what an awful little child I was.
Two thoughts come to my mind as these things come up. As I look at my lovely, spirited, sometimes challenging daughter I wonder how anyone could possibly label their child with such awful words, no matter what they were doing. I also wonder why there is any need to keep talking about this nearly thirty years later.
Perhaps it bothers my mother that I have a completely different outlook on parenting and children than she did. Perhaps to admit that I really wasn't such a horrible little demon after all would cause her to have to re-examine her role as a parent. I don't know. I know that my actions so often retold (over and over again) don't really seem that out of the ordinary to me. I dumped all the diapers out of the pail and all over the floor? I'm sure many a child has done that. Was jealous of my little sister, unsure of my new-found role in the family and acted out for love and attention? Check, check and check.
For over thirty years I have accepted the "fact" that I must've been a really difficult child. Becoming a mother (and growing personally in my role as one) (and therapy) has made me realize that there really wasn't anything wrong with the way I acted as a child. I was normal. I wasn't a bad three year-old, nor was I a terror to be around. I was a kid. A kid who did kid things and expressed myself the only way I knew how.
Perhaps these realizations are what makes me really ache when Beanie is having a rough time. I view what she's experiencing through the eyes of three-year old me. But it's not the same for her. She's free to be whomever she wants to be, her parents love and support her no matter what she does and we enjoy the good times and take the more difficult ones as opportunities to grow.