Princess P has always been this tiny little ferocious thing. You might not know it to look at her, but she is fierce. And she’s not mean, just a force to be reckoned with. I learned this about twenty hours into my labor with her. She wasn’t ready to be born and she wasn’t impressed with our attempts to speed up her arrival. Finally, after over three hours of pushing (with no pain medicine), she was in Daddy’s arms, letting us know how she felt. And for a six pounder, she could make a scene.
Her first two weeks were a whirlwind; somewhere in there I started my second year of law school and Michael was working his way through some crazy 12 hour shifts. And our tiny little baby grew two inches and gained two pounds. Like I said, ferocious. I should have mentioned determined.
She was not a good sleeper. Well, actually, when she wanted to sleep (or was in our arms or our bed), it was fine. When we wanted her to sleep, it wasn’t fine. I read all the books, I went to all the sleep seminars. We tried letting her cry it out, we made bed time earlier, later, more often, less frequent. It didn’t matter. Ferocious. I believe she was three when first she slept through the night. I kid you not.
A few days past two years old, Princess P started school. She loved it. Maybe one time she announced she didn’t want to go back, but with a little positive reinforcement, she returned, head held high, smile on her face. She wasn’t afraid and a few days in it was as if she’d known these friends all her life. After only three months, she moved into the three year old classroom with a new teacher and new friends. I worried about the adjustment, but she sailed through without even blinking an eye.
And that’s how this little girl walks through life. She isn’t afraid. She is brilliant and funny and sweet and adorable and she makes friends with an astounding ease. But underneath that layer of sweetness and light, there’s a metal that never ceases to amaze me. She is ferocious!
Swimming has been a fascinating process with P. As with most things, it seemed to come naturally to her. But also typical, she established clear boundaries of what she was and was not comfortable doing. To Daddy’s chagrin, she wasn’t comfortable with us teaching her to swim. In the beginning, she was terrified to get her face wet. She had a fantastic swim coach help her over that fear and she never looked back. Two days later she was going off the diving board and by the end of last summer, she was a fish.
At the start of swim team this summer, she was very firm that she needed to be in with the beginners. We trusted her, sensing that the months had taken a toll on her confidence. Within days she was swimming with the big kids and after two lessons, she was diving in on her own. She can swim the entire length of the pool, dive, backstroke, and walk on her hands. For some reason, swimming alone in the “10 foot” diving well still terrified her, but practice and a bit of divine intervention pushed her through. And now she does pencil jumps and cannon balls off the diving board and swims by herself to the ladder. She’s amazing (and ferocious).
Today was her first swim meet. She’s been beside herself with excitement for days. I think she’s been rehearsing this moment in her mind since last year when her best friend swam in a meet. And yet, when we got to the pool, I could sense some hesitation. That spring in her step was gone and her bubbly little countenance was replaced with a more serious and even somber expression. Every time I asked if she was sure she wanted to swim she said “yes.” And then, she did it! She got up on the blocks and she dove right in. Poor little thing, the dive stripped off her goggles and she was a little disoriented. But she put them back on and kept swimming. I don’t think she could see a thing through the water logged goggles, but she didn’t hesitate and she kept swimming. Ferocious!
I was so proud of her and what she set out to accomplish and what she did! But I was worried that she didn’t enjoy it. In a quiet moment, I got a chance to ask her how she was feeling and she said, “I am always like this when there are this many people watching me.” And it’s true. She is an old soul, always. But she takes performing seriously and when she has an audience, she is going to do her job and make sure she does it well! I am just amazed by her, she is as focused mentally as she is physically. She may have been the tiniest one there, but her spirit might have been the biggest. Her game face carefully hid her anxiety and with sweet grace she accomplished her mission. She is ferocious! And I love her so very much.