Santa gave Grace a bottle of pink nail polish for Christmas; it was in her stocking.
The very next day, house full of leftovers and crumpled wrapping paper and shiny new toys, Grace broke out the nail polish.
I must have nodded at just the right moment, talking to the baby or my husband, and she had all the permission she needed to paint her nails.
All by herself.
I was working, eyes glued to my laptop, while she painted. I didn’t notice the painting or the smell of the polish until she was in front of me, showing off her beautiful nails.
“Wow!” I said, eyebrows raised.
I opened my mouth to tell her that she shouldn’t paint her fingers, that nail painting requires careful patience, that I could help her fix them. No sound came out. I shut my mouth again.
She was so proud of her fancy nails. She was especially pleased that she’d done it all by herself.
Instead of helping or stepping in or fixing, I just praised. I told her that I was proud of her, that she is getting to be such a big girl.
There will always be time to correct, but Grace is learning to be independent, to step up and handle things on her own, and she needs to be confident in her ability to try.
Even if she doesn’t handle everything perfectly, I want her to keep trying. I want her to believe she can do anything she wants to do; believing is what makes it true.
© 2012, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.