By Kay Leander, Philadelphia Moms Blog
Ever since my daughter figured out that letters make sounds, she’s been writing things down. Notes, shopping lists, feelings. Only recently, though, can I decipher them. These little notes are extremely enlightening. Like little windows into her mind, I can tell what’s going on with her. They give me insight as to how to parent her, make me laugh, make me almost cry.
One day, cleaning her room, I found a note on the floor near her window seat. It read “I love my mommee so much but she ax like she dusnt love me.” Wow. Talk about tearing my heart out. I’m sure on one recent day when she’d been sent to her room, she curled up in the corner and banged out that little doozy of a note. And I’m thrilled to have a child who has already learned the benefits of writing down her feelings. She never intended for me to see it (I know this because she often does leave notes for me to see), but I’m glad I did. Even though I tell her often how much I love her, give her hugs and kisses, I can always show more love — and you can bet after seeing this note, I do.
We gave her a diary for Christmas. She’d been asking for it since October. It has a beautiful flowered cover, lined pages, and — most precious of all — a lock and key. She curled up on the couch on Christmas afternoon, huddled over her diary, concentrating hard on what she was writing.
That evening I found her entries, torn from the diary and crumpled on the couch. One said: “Chrismtismismis 2009 My cosin dit let me play wif hr macop.” (My cousin didn’t let me play with her make up) Another: “Chrismismis 2009 I lov my DS lit.”
My first instinct was to point out to her that with special diaries like this, we don’t tear out the pages, but save them in the diary so we can read them again and again. But she insisted that those were entries she “didn’t like,” and it occurred to me that I have a treasure trove on my hands. Parents constantly question whether or not it’s an invasion of privacy to read a child’s locked diary, and I honestly don’t know which side of the debate I come down on. But if my child tears out the pages and leaves them in plain sight, I have no qualms about reading them.
After New Year’s, my husband and I went on a four-day trip; our first vacation without the kids in four years. In the days leading up to the trip, we were surprised at how well our daughter — who is in a real Mommy phase these days — was handling our impending departure. On our return, I found this folded up on the floor in her room: “To: Mommy I love you I kat tacit I do no wot you to go I way.” (To: Mommy I love you, I can’t take it. I do not want you to go away) I’m just thankful that I didn’t see that one until after our return.
I came across another one yesterday, torn from her diary. It read “My fort I made I love, but my mommy is macinge me and my brodrs clean it up.” Good point. She worked hard buildng that thing out of blocks, there’s no harm in keeping it up a little longer. Every single block and lego doesn’t have to go away at clean up time. Great advice, thanks sweetheart!
It’s not just her diary, too, or notes penned in times of extreme emotion. Recently while in the basement, where the kids like to play hide and seek, I caught a glimpse of writing on the back of our chalkboard. It’s one of those Melissa and Doug easels, with a white board on one side and a chalkboard on the other. The chalkboard, being the less desirable side, is facing the corner. And there, in pink chalk, are the words “I am not behid the chocbord.”
So I’ll keep encouraging the shopping lists, looking for the notes, and hoping that one day she’ll mature into a girl who treasures her journal and written correspondance. In the meantime, I’m keeping my eyes out for more windows into her mind, hoping they will continue to offer me glimpses into her complicated and exciting self.
This is an original post from the Philadelphia Moms Blog, http://www.phillymomsblog.com.