I've recently gotten in the habit of giving Cheech choices. Lemme explain. When I was pregnant, I was perusing through a children's clothing store when I noticed a mom hold up two different dresses to her baby girl. "This one, or this one?", she asked. The girl, who couldn't have been more than 12 months, took a minute to study each dress, then extended her hand to reach for the one she wanted. I couldn't tell if I was more amazed that such a little person was already showing signs of likes and dislikes, or that her mom had even thought to give her the option. I vowed to do the same once my little one came along.
Here's why. When I was a kid, I pretty much wore what my mom wanted me to wear, played with the toys my mom picked out for me, and did the things my mom chose for me to do. I never got the luxury of options. I'm not trying to make my mom out to be the bad guy here, I just believe that it never would have occurred to her to do it any other way. And honestly, I think that's most parents out there. When you're the one doing all the purchasing, until your child becomes very vocal about his/her opinions, why wouldn't you pick out what you like? So, I ended up the little girl with super long ringlets, and always, ALWAYS in a dress with some sort of mary jane-type shoe. But that's not me, AT ALL. I've preferred short hair for most of my life, my favorite color has been blue for as long as I can remember, and my mom still cringes at my incredibly foul mouth. Just because I came from her, it does not mean I am her.
With Cheech, I want things to be different. I am fully aware that she is her own person, with her own interests, and as new age-y as this may sound, I want her to always confidently express herself and feel comfortable picking out the things she likes. I want her to be aware of what makes her her, and not me or her dad. So when I took her shoe shopping about a month ago, I grabbed two completely different styles. A super cool "Chameleon" pair that would have been my first choice, and a pair that never in a million years I would have chosen for her, the "Tasty Treat" style. I watched as she carefully looked over each shoe and reached out for the Tasty Treat. I'm not gonna lie, I was kind of bummed she didn't go for the Chameleon. I took the Tasty Treat back, switched hands, showed them to her again, and asked, "Are you sure??". Tasty Treat it was.