When Lauren was first born, she was so chill. The doctors described her as "content" and she really was. However, now that isn't a word that people would use to describe her. It isn't that she isn't content now - she is still happy and curious and loves all of the people who love her - but she is too full of energy to be considered content. I swear, this kid doesn't stop. When I found out I was having a girl, I pictured a mini-me.  As a kid, I was quiet, easily entertained and almost never naughty (and I'm not making this up, you can ask my mom). I was like this because I was so painfully shy that I preferred to blend into the background and watch others. Well, my daughter is one of those kids that I would have been watching. Lauren doesn't walk, she runs. She has opinions about everything, knowing exactly what she doesn't like and taking such joy in the things that she enjoys that a packed elevator of adults all end up with smiles on their faces as they watch her revel in the way the elevator moves and stops while dancing with a beaming smile. As a kid, I might have had a person comment on how well behaved I was, but my daughter breaks down people's barriers with her free, life-loving spirit. 

Sometimes I find it hard to let her be the little girl that God has created her to be. I want her to sit quietly with me while she wants to go sit with any other kids in the room and try to play with them. I try to get her to walk and hold my hand, but she is too busy running to the next person she can say hello to or to point to any and every bird that she sees and yell, "Wooooowwww!" I try to get her to wear cute little outfits that match properly and all she wants to wear are her Tinkerbell  fairy tops, any shirts with cats on them or her Toronto Maple Leafs shirts. I get told a stern, "No" in the morning whenever I try to pull out anything that does not meet her strict clothing criteria. (And, Nicole, I would like to point out that I have you to blame for 75% of her clothing choices... and Matt for the other 25%. Thank you both.)

In the end I realize that Lauren and I are very different people and we probably always will be. I have taken a different approach to parenting than I expected. I'm try not to make decisions about Lauren by my own reflexes for what I would do because I didn't manage to break out of my shyness until my mid-20s and that is not something that I want for her, but by saying no to behaviours that might get her in trouble, hurt or sick. If she wants to go around charming everyone with an elevator dance, so be it, but, no, I will not let her continue to eat the bread that fell out of her hand and onto the floor during a particularly free part of the dance. She can run through the grocery store saying hi to everyone and I will encourage her for her friendly behaviour but I will also teach her that she always needs to stay safe. And she can pick out her own clothes but sometimes I will still pin her to the ground and wrestle her into the clothes that I want her to wear... and then she can pick the shoes which lately have been either her gold sparkly shoes or rain boots. Both of which she has also worn out of the house with pjs. It will be hard to let her be her own person and to know where to draw the line but I don't want to stifle her spirit. After all, it is that spirit and strong will that helped her fight when all we had was a prayer. Now I just need to keep her corralled as I see where that spirit will take her.  

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