Chip Off the What? Who?

I’ve come to learn to accept that my daughter—although I carried her in my belly for nine months—is and probably will always be an enigma. I also learned that she has many of HB’s foibles, so whenever she might behave in a way that’s erratic or unfamiliar, I must keep in mind that my genes only make up one-half of her. The rest is HB, and of course, environment and her own little spin on things.

The Princess doesn’t like to try or do new things unless she’s absolutely sure she can do it perfectly. The first time. This can be quite a challenge to get her to try something new, such as learning a musical instrument or a sport. And because of her food allergies, she also tends to be reluctant to try new foods, even though we promise they will taste good and will not hurt her. Very often she would throw a hissy fit so dramatic and traumatic, that any inkling of creating a sibling for her would vanish.

However, in public with no parents around, she has an entirely different persona and approach to new things. Her summer day camp has been a whole new eye-opening experience for us, and it’s only been one week so far.

When the Princess’s camp counselor called after the first day of camp to introduce herself and talk about the Princess/food allergies, I let her know that the Princess tends to be timid/shy and generally unwilling to try new things. That she prefers to watch from the sidelines vs. drawing attention to herself and being in the action. To my surprise (and relief), I learned from her counselor that she is the opposite. In fact, among the peers in her group the Princess is most willing to try new things and is pretty social, too. We both laughed as we said at the same time, “Are we talking about the same person?”

On the first day of camp, she had no problems getting into a harness and bungee jumping on a trampoline. This is the same girl who refuses to play in a McDonald’s PlayLand after getting lost in the maze of climbing levels and tunnels one time long ago, or go down a kiddie waterslide although younger kids are going down by themselves. Even going on the merry-go-round or kiddie-train requires an adult nearby. But maybe not anymore—as long as HB and I are not around, perhaps?

As for going into the swimming pool and putting her head underwater (a feat unmastered after 6 private swim lessons last fall), somehow her instructors got her to do that without any fanfare on Day 1. She may learn to swim after all.

But what really thrilled me was learning that she danced a routine in front of the whole camp—a routine that she and her group learned that day. (Thank goodness, she didn’t inherit my fear of performing in public.) Even yesterday, I learned she did rock-climbing, which is something I know I’d never be able to do, especially with my fear of heights. And during this week, she ate guacamole, which she and her troop made for snack. (It took me years before I tasted guacamole because of how it looked.)

So I guess this means I need to keep sending her to places and paying people to get her to learn/try something new. (Come to think of it, we were only successful in getting her potty-trained at 3.5 years after she started daycare.)

What a bummer. I was hoping I could save money by teaching her piano, arts and crafts, as well as supplement some of her academics, myself. But I guess I’m one of those cursed parents who can probably teach anyone but my own child.

Alas! Time to get a higher paying job and/or work more hours.


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