My Fearless Daughter
As a mom, I naturally think that I innately know what’s best for my kids and what they will like and dislike. My daughter taught me a very valuable lesson to the contrary, however, when she was about a year and a half. My husband and I had decided that we would eat dinner out as a family instead of cooking at home. I brought a ton of different finger foods in case we couldn’t find anything on the menu for my daughter, and as we waited for our entrees my daughter started eyeing the lemon wedge that was in my water.
She was intrigued. She asked what it was, and then upon confirming that it was something that could go in her mouth she asked to have it. I was reluctant, not necessarily because I wanted to lemon for my water, but instead because it seemed to me that there was no way my delicate daughter would actually enjoy the sour, tart taste of a lemon. She did okay with mandarin oranges, but lemons? It just didn’t seem like a good idea.
“Go ahead,” my husband urged. “It’s not going to hurt her.” I went ahead and fished the lemon wedge out of my water and gave it to her. I felt really bad at how excited she was because I knew that she would inevitably spit it back out and give me a look of betrayal since I had given it to her in the first place. I braced myself.
Guess what: She loved it. She ate that lemon wedge all the way down to the rind, and only stopped because we took the rind away from her. It was a poignant lesson – courtesy of my daughter – that I needed to allow her to try things even if I thought she wouldn’t like them in the first place. Nowadays I don’t try to stop her from anything that she wants to try as long as it’s reasonable. I figure as long as whatever it is she wants to try isn’t dangerous, then why not? For all I know, she’ll discover something fantastic.