Friday, April 13, 2012

She's Got Spirit!

There are some things in my life or on my blog, that I have always been careful not to talk about, blog about, etc. Part of it because it is just too raw, real, honest, and hard. Part of it because it involves my daughter. My oldest daughter. I love her with all my heart and I'm well aware that she may read these words one day. Because of that, I want to be cautious with what I share. However, I have become more aware these last few weeks, that I must share. For perhaps it can bring about a bit of healing to me and maybe even her.

Parenting Zoelle is hard. I mean plain old blood, sweat, and tears hard.

It began when she was just a baby. I'm not sure I've ever talked about it, but Zoelle had a VERY traumatic birth. To this day, it is very painful for me to talk about it. After being in labor for two days, she was finally born with 3 tiny holes in her heart. Thus forcing her to be away from me for two days with little or no contact with her dad or I during those two days. I know two days is a lifetime to small children. I did everything I could with her to attach when she was a newborn. We did skin to skin contact, we co-slept, we breastfed, we baby wore, we did not practice CIO, and I believe all of that helped immensely. However, I clearly remember as an infant, her not being able to calm down at all and she would cry for hours on end in my arms. This left me frazzled and as I was still dealing with my guilt over the birth not being what I wanted it to be, it also left me with a bit of postpartum depression.

It was around this time that I realized, that most likely I had a spirited child and possibly a child with sensory processing disorder.

As she aged, her spirit and spunk were emerging even more. Loud noises would set her off completely, certain tastes of foods would make her not eat, the feel of certain fabrics would freak her out. The birth of her little sister did not help and things became worse. For one whole year after the birth of Meridian, Zoelle cried pretty much every day. Then things seemed to get better, but now it has been tough again. And I find my weaknesses, flaws, and imperfections being tested every day.  

I'm struggling friends. Trying to find the balance between loving and thanking God for that spirit, knowing that one day it will bring about such an awesome strong woman. But also struggling with how to deal with it now.

Multiple times during the day I declare over her how much of a delight she is to me. And you know what? She really is! She truly is a little delight. When I hear Xiomara calling out for "Well", I realize the impact this tow headed little four year old has had on her. When I watch her read straight through a book without stopping, I realize how much I enjoy her company. When she crawls into bed with me just so she can snuggle and play with my hair, my heart explodes with love for her.

But that is not to say we don't have bad parts of our day. Because we do, she is spirited, remember? I'm just struggling as a mom to understand that spirit and help her. I wasn't sure I would ever share, but then, I read this blog post and felt as if I was reading about my Z on a different blog then my own. I cried buckets of tears just realizing that someone else understands how I feel. Someone else knows what I am going through. Just knowing that brought a tiny bit of relief.

So I share here, in the hopes that being open will help me understand her more, and the possibility that just maybe it will help one of you to realize you too are not alone.


  1. You could have well been writing about my Abram too. He didn't have a traumatic birth, he's just VERY spirited. God knew I needed him, but man oh man he tests me daily. He's not easy going, go with the flow like his brother. He too has sensory issues with clothes, noises, crowds, foods. It was at about 3 years old, maybe even sooner when I realized that instead of trying to mold and make him into who I *thought* he should be, I needed to work with who he was and life became mush easier. I need to parent him different than Ethan. He responds totally different to things, situations ect. He NEEDS a lot of personal touch, to the point where I'm like "Dude, get off me!" But I know this makes him thrive. I know some would say, 'You're so easy on him," or "You don't make him do things." There is no making Abram do anything, he just won't. This becomes a challenge when I expect him to obey me...I do A LOT of thinking before I speak/discipline him. I don't want to go back on my word and so I really need to think before I speak. He really holds a special spot in my heart, he's my baby. I try to tell myself this probably daily..."God you knew what you were doing giving me a child like Abram and I know Lord this time goes by FAST, help me to see him for who he is. He will do great things." It's my daily prayer kinda.
    There are several days that Abram will NOT eat before school, that kills me but he just doesn't need to. His teacher says he does just fine before their first snack. Many days he wears his pj's UNDER his clothes to school. I try to make him change, he won't. When I sit back Vanessa and look at the bigger picture I think, is this a make or break situation? Will no breakfast and pj's under his clothes make or break either of us? No it won't and so I allow him to do those things. As annoying to ME as they are, he finds comfort in them. I'm sure I will never understand his thinking or how his brain completely works but I do "get" him. The older he gets the more I realize he is JUST LIKE ME! The difference, I'm an adult and have learned coping skills and when I need to pull it together. He hasn't completely learned them all yet, but in his time he will.
    He has so many wonderful qualities, he melts me with the love he has to give. He's a helper, he loves to help and does it without complaining.
    There will come a day when he's all grown up and won't need me like he does now and when that day comes my heart will break. I am happy to be his mama and thankful God has entrusted me to raise him. It's not easy at all but thankful I am.

    1. Salena-You have no idea how much your words touched me! Thank you for being so open and sharing! I appreciate it SO much!!

      Yes the older Zoelle gets the more I realize I am raising a mini me!! It scares me a bit as I realize I was not an easy kid! Ha! But, I am praying that this little girl is so strong now, so that when she is grown she can be the same.

      Oh and my Z is a touch girl too. A little hard for me when I feel touched out all day long, but I'm realizing I can do it, for her, it is worth it.

      I think the words that spoke the most to me is when you said many people think you are too easy on him. We have had the same with Zoelle. But I know her, I know what works and what doesn't and so sometimes, yes, I let things go. But not because I am lazy or wanting her to get her way. Rather, I can't force her to do things. I can only help mold her into the way God is making her.

      Anyway, thank you!! I don't mind the long response at all and I am learning from you!! :)

  2. great post. i also have a post that has not been published because i didnt wanna hurt my daughters feelings. it's about me trying to change her and realizing its me that needed the adjustment.
    your such an amazing mother. not all kids are made the same. and sometime nature (god) has plans that dont match ours and we have to just go with the flow.

    1. Thanks hon! Yes, it has taken me years to realize that I can't force or change Zoelle to be the way I want her to be. God made her this way, and I need to rejoice in it and realize He has amazing plans for her!! :) Looking forward to your post!

  3. Thank you for this post Vanessa! It reminds me that I am not alone. Scarlett is a very spirited girl as well and has been a challenge for me from day 1. I am reminded that I am not the only one who has struggled with a spirited child. I remember crying for days because she would never snuggle only arch her back away from me. She snuggles now (of course on her own terms of course!) which I am so thankful for. But she still is always on the move and definitely has a mind of her own!

    1. Thanks for sharing Megan! It helps so much to know that we are not alone, doesn't it? And yes, sweet little Scarlett is definitely spirited. I just remind myself of what a good thing that can be!


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