Happy Valentine’s Day! It is the day of Amor, Love, Amore… I am out of ways of saying it sorry! Anyway to honor old Cupid and to keep with my Gracie Girl Week… today’s post is about my baby’s need for affection and attention.
Maybe it is because she is the second child, the sibling of a special needs kid, or just the fact that she is the product of me a person who always wants to be center stage… my girl craves attention. No not crave… she NEEDS attention and lots and lots of affection. She has a constant need to be cuddled, sitting on my lap or attached to my side. Many days, especially on those days that I am feeling so over whelmed with Jay… this longing of Grace’s is exhausting. I just don’t have it in me to give any more of myself and I just want to be left alone. Grace just doesn’t get it… and I understand this… she is 8.
Being 8 is hard. You are caught in the middle, teetering back and forth between being a baby and being a big kid. There is a reason they call it TWEEN years. Grace is discovering that the world does not revolve around her, and well that is both scary and upsetting. She longs for the attention that baby’s get but for the independence that comes with being older. Add on top of all that she has a brother that demands much of her parent’s attention , MUCH of the time… well no wonder she is so emotional and dramatic. I am thick headed… but eventually I got it. It doesn’t make it any easier… but at least I understand why she acts the way she does.
What Grace needed was something that was all her own. We tried girl scouts. Problem is… I became the leader so now she has to share me with all the other girls in the troop. Not what she was looking for. So we went the route that I have fought going for so long. I caved in and let Grace take acting classes.
I am an actress. Well I was. I don’t mean that I am dramatic… which I am, I mean that I used to act professionally! I did the whole starving actor bit in New York, toured a few seasons with a traveling improv troop, did a summer as Mother Goose in Busch Gardens even did some extra work on Miami Vice (I know I am showing my age now huh!). I Know first hand how competitive and how hard the business is. I never wanted that for my kids. But some how Grace has inherited my gift. She loves to dress up and pretend and well… she can cry at the drop of a hat! She is funny and her facial expressions are so expressive. She really really wanted to take classes.
I value and know first hand the benefits of what drama can do. Self confidence and the ability to creatively express one self are traits that can help in whatever field she chooses later in life, and in her education now! A safe place for her to explore her feelings without judgment. A place for her to be anyone she wanted to be, BUT… Jay’s sister! A place that would feed her hunger for attention!!!
I signed her up!
Grace loves her Tuesday night class. She looks forward to it every week. She comes out flying… on top of the world. She loves the praise that the teacher always dotes on her. “Great job today Grace! I LOVED that line you came up with Grace. You are so funny Grace!” Who wouldn’t eat that up. She loves the fact that her big brother has to sit outside while SHE is in class. (Although she is a bit jealous and afraid that he may be getting something while he is alone with me that she doesn’t get… like my attention!) It is her thing. Well… actually it is OUR thing. She loves the connection we have now. She will ask me, “Mama when you took classes did you do this exercise?” “Or isn’t improv fun Mama? I love it!” We have bonded over it in so many ways. How funny that for her to feel she is getting MY attention she needed to do something without me! I still find that ironic.
I don’t advice Grace on how to say a line, or any other things she should be doing. It is her class, her Thing! I just sit back and enjoy watching my baby growing into the wonderful young woman she is slowly becoming. I am also trying hard to give her those hugs and kisses she needs now… cause I know in a few years she will SO NOT WANT IT!
Hope you give your love ones a few extra hugs and kisses today! After all it is Valentine’s Day!