From age 1 to 4 my daughter Bailey demanded to wear nothing but dresses. It was sweet except it was strange because even though she only wore dresses, she was a tough girl! She was tough to parent because of her demanding personality. She demanded to talk in the car above Sam and I. When we’d ignore her she’d scream and kick the drivers seat in front of her. That was tough! My blood pressure rose so high so fast during those times. I never had to count and breathe before that. Anger management.
I remember many nights of holding her door closed as she freaked out about not wanting to go to bed (I know it sounds like child abuse but if you’ve ever been there you’ll understand). The fact is that training kids how to go to sleep and sleep through the night is a much bigger job than anyone ever told me and sometimes it takes evasive and harsh action (unless you want to suffer the endless nights of kids walking into your room asking for a drink, a snack, or them telling you that they’re bored while you’re fully asleep).
Bailey demanded to wear dresses. Not just any dress but the dress of her choosing. Even at a very young age (2). She learned to get herself dressed and we simply couldn’t change her clothing no matter what. She went through a long phase of nudity too. When we were looking for a house to purchase in 2001 every time we’d walk through a house she’d strip down totally naked. We couldn’t stop her. It was tough to constantly apologize to the realtor. “Sorry Bailey became naked again. Sorry.”
I learned through many extremely bitter fights that she needs to get her own way on most everything – she’s an effective fighter. I dare any of you to try to get Bailey to do something she doesn’t want to do. Nothing would bring me more pleasure than to watch this happen. She really taught us to pick our battles.
Bailey had more seizure-type fits (kicking and screaming on the ground) then any of our other children. When you’re a new parent a thrashing 3-year-old at the check out line at the grocery store is mortifying (a real growing experience). It was a fine line to walk saying no to her. It taught us to set clear, absolute boundaries and expectations.
Bailey is a beautiful girl. She’s more lively and fun then just about anyone. When she’s gone from our house it’s quiet and dull. When she’s with us it’s loud and exciting. She’s independent. She’s passionate and she’s one tough cookie. I always try to keep perspective. She’ll be an adult in a few years and when she’s an adult, Bailey’s character traits will translate into being a great boss, a great organizer and an excellent leader. Sometimes I lay in bed and dream of her with a few kids of her own. Like Bill Cosby said:
My father comes over and sits back on the sofa while the kids are runnin’ around and my wife and I are acting like idiots. He smiles and asks “Having a little trouble son?”
She trained Sam and I how to be parents. With Bailey we started our parenting life in the graduate level class.
-Photo scanned from black and white print. Shot with Nikon f3/50mm f1.4 lens onto tri-x film.