As my little baby has now turned 3, here are ten things I dream for her doing or becoming over the next ten years.
These aren’t goals for academic results or lofty aspirations for sporting prowess, but dreams of ways that we can add colour and happiness to her development. I know that this list might appear delusive, but I have daily plans for my daughters, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t be wistful about the next ten years.
- To play by running around simply and barefoot in the yard with her little sister by her side in a world of their own creation (a yard which we do not possess as yet, but plan to, within ten years anyway).
- To appreciate others. To show thanks or show gratefulness for what others do for her.
- To travel (as a family). Within Australia, outside Australia….be exposed to landscape, to cultures to people. To learn how to initiate conversations with strangers – through using us as guides, and with us always supporting her efforts. To clarify, I mean other little girls at camping grounds or children she is sitting next to on a plane. I obviously do not mean to talk to ‘strangers’ as in random people on the street by herself.
- To have at least three best friends. To never limit herself to one friend or one group. I hope that she would try and be friendly with people across a few different cliques, rather than sticking within her familiar group. (Mia Freedman over at Mama Miawrote a fabulous blog post about how many best friends your children should have, but I can’t seem to find the entry. I vaguely remember her talking about five…).
I know that this could be difficult and awkward for a young girl (or anyone), but through travel and other forms of exposure (see list), this experience can be made easier (I had pen pals for years after some family holidays…I wonder if children these days instantly become facebook friends after meeting on holidays…or? I’d be interested to hear input from those who know).
- Play a team sport. Through my own experience of team sports or in after school clubs I found myself mixing with people who you wouldn’t normally form friendships with. This can definitely boost your confidence and friendship networks, and I can only assume make yourself less likely to bullying attacks (please correct me or comment on this if my assumptions are wrong).
- To have tried a musical instrument.
This may sound slightly ‘Tiger Mom’ -ish, but I think everyone should be introduced to music as early as possible. I am sure my Mother is laughing at this point, as my parents ‘encouraged’ me to play piano for about ten years, and I fought against it every step of the way. I hated practicing. I hated the teachers and I was extremely nervous at playing in exams or concerts (probably because of the lack of practice). The years of piano lessons certainly did not grant me with any musical skill, nor did it help my Maths skills (working off the theory of left brain/right brain) – neither weakness helping the other really.
What it did show me was the effort that goes into mastering skills in music (and other Arts) and I became a devoted appreciator of musical talent and I enjoy listening to all forms of music including classical, opera, jazz and contemporary pop.
I have a close friend who is a brilliant viola player and I love to attend her Orchestra’s performances (see TMO – an amazing Sydney group) and can truly appreciate the skill and effort that have gone into playing such emotional and intriguing compositions.
- To encourage her love of books by modeling this passion at home. A place where the television is often turned off (and other electronics) as we enjoy a quiet afternoon/evening reading. My girls and I often already lay in bed together reading – me reading my novels, Matilda ‘reading’ her magazines through the pictures or by reciting her adored picture books aloud (such as the beloved classic ‘Possum Magic’ by Mem Fox) and bubba chewing on board books.
- To encourage her cheeky humour which already gathers a following at parties and local activities. She is a natural show-off (as are most toddlers), and I only hope that this self-confidence blossoms into her teen years, not fades.
- To hold her sister in high esteem as one of her closest and dearest friends and to build on that unshakeable sister bond every day as they grow older.
- To know that her Mother is always and forever her biggest fan and proudest supporter and will love her every moment no matter what (even during her foolish toddler tantrums I often find myself secretly smiling inside at how gorgeous she is).
As we approach Mother’s Day this weekend, I don’t need presents or gifts to thank me – my gift would be if my little girl (and girls) achieved all this and more.
To finish with a fabulous sentiment from Jodi Picoult (to apply to my girls) –