Today is my youngest daughter’s birthday. She’s six, and I can no longer cling to the delusion that my baby is still a baby.
I call her “Bubbles” on the blog because 1) she is too young to allow me to plaster her name all over the interwebs and 2) she’s as sweet and good-natured as the Bubbles of Powerpuff Girls fame.
She is preternaturally good. Her goal in life is to be the kid most likely to have adults gush over her for being well-behaved and cheerful and helpful. Seriously, I have birthed Goody Two-Shoes and I am both delighted and smug about my luck.
You know those kids that the teachers always rejoice to have in class? Yeah, I was never that kid, and I never expected to have one of those. However, my mom swears she was the same way as a child. (It must skip a generation or something.) According to her, she existed in a constant need to please others. Even now, mom cannot handle interpersonal conflict without becoming overwrought.
Which leads me to the first of only two downsides of having a Disney Princess level sweetie pie as a daughter; she is WAY to willing to do whatever it takes to make people happy. Her friends fight at school over who gets to play with her, and when they are unwilling to share her time she becomes physically ill trying to think of a way to make ALL of them happy at the SAME time. She is extremely reluctant to disappoint her friends by telling them “no” to any game, regardless of whether she wants to play that game or not.
It worries her father and me. We fear others may try to take advantage of her. We’ve got friends and family who are instinctive “people-pleasers” and there is invariably at least one twatwaffle who tries to take advantage of them for it. They are especially targeted by narcissists, because they can be made to feel guilty about someone else’s unhappiness even when they are logically not responsible for it and are thus ripe for manipulation.
Fortunately, I am a raging and hard-headed autistic bitch who eats narcissists for breakfast and uses their finger bones to pick my teeth. Come hell or high water, I will help my baby learn to spot narcissists and how to get out of relationships with them.
That brings up the second downside – it leads one into the temptation to become a “helicopter parent”. Since helicopter parenting is awful and a nearly guaranteed way to make your child miserable their whole life, I am determined NOT to do it. Nevertheless, Bubble’s extreme affability and vulnerability makes me want to keep her sheltered and cossetted beyond what’s good for her.
For today, though, I can coddle her without too much guilt. It’s her birthday, and a time for spoiling if ever there was one. I’m taking cupcakes to her class and I she will be queen for a day here at home. I will pet her and pamper her to my heart’s content.
Happy Birthday, Bubbles. I am so glad you are mine.