Reaping the Rewards

Last weekend I was making good on a promise I had made to #3 to take her to get her nails done as a special treat for a recent accomplishment. I planned on asking #1 if she wanted to come along, although I suspected she would say no as she hasn’t shown interest in these sorts of things.

Before I had a chance to ask #1 if she wanted to join, she enthusiastically said, “Can I come??”  I said, “Of course!  Do you want to get your nails done?”  And to my astonishment, she said yes!  Both girls shrieked with excitement while they hurriedly got dressed to leave.

In my recent T. Swift post, I mentioned briefly that I’ve had the most difficulty bonding with RM’s oldest—his 10-year-old daughter (#1).  She’s been very sweet to me 95 percent of the time, but the other 5 percent of the time, it’s been tough.  She is 10 after all—and the oldest—so it’s only natural that it’s a bit more difficult with her.

Over the past year, I’ve held firm to the “let them come to you” approach.  It’s been a difficult balance as the younger two have taken to me much more quickly and have become increasingly affectionate over the past several months—hugs, cuddles, “I love you’s”—the whole bit.  However, I began worrying that I was waiting too long for #1 to come to me.  Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea after all.  Would my newfound closeness with #2 and #3 make her feel isolated and do the opposite of what I was hoping?

Since #1 wasn’t ready for the same type of love as #2 and #3 were, I had to find other ways to show her love and affection.  I would stand up for her if she had been waiting patiently for her turn on the I-pad.  I would ask her opinion about things, even the inconsequential things like, “What do you think of this shirt?  Does it match?”  I shared “secrets” with her, like what I was planning for RM’s birthday, and told her that she was allowed to know because she was the oldest, creating the dynamic of trusted allies.

While the past year has not been filled with cuddle sessions between #1 and me, I am starting to reap the rewards of my patient approach, demonstrated by the turn of events at the T. Swift concert and last Saturday.  Hearing #1 sweetly thank me for taking her to the nail salon and seeing her look down at her toes and smile with excitement warmed my heart.  It didn’t matter what had happened up to that point.  At that moment, it felt like a solid “win” to me.

Here is a pic of the finished products:

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P.S. Those are my mammoth feet in the bottom right corner.  What was I thinking with that color?

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