...who makes you want to rip your hair out, is also making you super proud all at the same time.
It's true. She does all that and more. Argues against me, has an opinion about everything, never takes an unfinished answer and believes it. She drives me 'round the bend with her stubbornness.
But I think that is a strength - not a weakness on her behalf.
All too often we are told to subdue that argumentative side in kids. I can see why for some that is the only answer, but for me with a daughter - I love the fact that if she doesn't agree with something she will tell you. Loudly. I beam with pride and fizz with annoyance at the same time when we butt heads.
Respect is one thing - but need I remind you, that it needs to be earned not expected.
I love to see that when Milla is put into a situation that she is not comfortable with, she will back away. She has the presence of mind to trust her instincts over what she has been told to do. It is a difficult thing for some people to wrap their heads around and some take offence to it. As friendly as Milla is - she can be guarded.
I teach her to evaluate every situation independently. I ask her to, if she doesn't feel that something is right, feel ok in saying "no thanks". My personal opinion is that we should celebrate all the times our kids back away from situations as much as when they launch in trustingly head-first.
It is not being timid - it is feeling comfortable within yourself.
With that in mind, I tell you a story.
When Milla was 3 1/2 I decided that she should do ballet classes. She loved to dance to music (still does), and I felt that ballet would be good for her as it would teach her some discipline and also co-ordination. So along we went to a ballet school in Mount Eden Auckland.
The class was full of doting mums all beautiful and well 'put-together', their kids somewhat similar in wonderful tutus and ballet slippers, long hair tied up into tight buns moving about just so. And then there was us. Me, fresh tattoo wearing a singlet and trackies, short hair slightly disheveled from previous nights sleep. Milla - cute little pink leotard on with scraps of hair into a ponytail and a wee pink headband that kept slipping up her head 'cause her hair was so, well, slippery!
The music starts and all the little tiny kiddies gather around and listen whole-heartedly to the teacher. They sit and sway to the music for a few minutes and then all get up as a cluster and skip about the room. In time. In formation. Like they are meant to.
Milla: skips in opposite direction.
Milla: sits down in center of room.
Milla: gets up again (other children are practising position 1), and proceeds to run circles around all the other kids whilst taking her headband off, pony tail out, ballet shoes off, leotard off, undies off - until she is 100% completely naked and running around the room with me chasing her.
Me: leaving ballet school with naked child under one arm (well kept-mum comes rushing up to me and gives me Milla's discarded clothing) while I cry and curse and swear never to f**** return again.
Lesson learnt: Milla does not do well being told how to act and what to do.
Interpretation: Milla is a creative personality.
Result: I was so embarrassed that we never returned. Ever. Ever.
The reason why I divulge this story is that loving Milla's stubborn side, her opinionated unreasonable never-to-be-forced-to-conform side has taken a long time for me to get my head around. She won't just do what I ask because I ask her to - well mostly she will - but not always, and although I get angry about it in short, in the long term I am proud.
Because I have allowed a fierce, independent, opinionated personality to thrive and not be forced into submission because she is meant to. She is sure of her own self. She is confident in what she is comfortable with. And if she wants to dance naked around a ballet studio in front of all the posh kiddies - she will.
Although thankfully she has grown out of that phase.