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Olivia

Month 80

Dear Olivia,

My darling, it’s unfortunate that I must report that you’ve inherited the extreme sensitivity gene that runs rampant amongst the women on my side of the family. Yes, you will find yourself taking words out of context and yes, you will find yourself getting emotional for no good reason whatsoever. Take for instance the other night when you spilled a small amount of marinara sauce on your shirt that adorns a face of you. You were quite distraught that the sauce landed right in the middle of your face. I know, life is hard.

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Realization

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Denial

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Acceptance

With a tendency to being overly sensitive, you will find that dealing with emotions is something that does not come easily. You also strive for perfection in most things you do so you often become frustrated when things don’t fall into place as you had probably imagined. For the first time in as long as I can remember (which is probably only 3 weeks because my memory sucks), you were reprimanded by your teachers for having had yelled at your friends or as you put it, “I used my grumpy voice.” Of course in Montessori, nothing is taken lightly so there I was with a few other parents, sitting on a rug in the middle of the classroom as your teachers discussed the challenges of the day. You were distraught. You made little eye contact with me and with the amount of hair twirling you performed in those brief moments, I could tell you were anxious to put this horrific moment behind you.

I was quite surprised to hear your teachers retelling the events of the day because none of the actions described, sounded very characteristic of you. Making the younger children cry by telling them they were going to go to jail where they would never see their parents again? I’m sorry but you’re the nurturer in that class. So much that you’ve been separated from one child because he only comes to you when he has a problem or is upset. You were very reluctant to tell me what happened but when you finally did, you threw your head into your hands and wailed like I do when I watch “My Girl.” It’s an ugly cry if you need specifics.

You explained to me that while cleaning up your work, the other girls started helping you but they were not following your lead. “THEY WERE DOING IT ALL WRONG!” You explained to me all about the dramatics that followed when alas your pleading for a proper cleaning process fell on deaf ears. Your need for perfection resulted in you screaming at your fellow classmates for their ignorance over the matter and this resulted in them all crying and relaying to the teachers that you were being mean. Clearly you have taken my lead here and clearly your ability to make others cry will quite possibly make you drunk with power. I know that feeling all too well–Miles, my feet, tears for days.

Was I upset? Goodness, no. We had a good conversation and we discussed in great lengths about feeling grumpy and somehow the conversation turned on me. I get it, I’m easily irritated. No sense pointing fingers.

Your extreme emotions have also created some problems at swimming. Towards the end of last summer, we had noticed a change in your behavior at swimming. You suddenly became very timid and at times, even started crying uncontrollably for no known reason. We would try to console you but you never gave us a real answer as to why you were upset. Fast forward to this swim season and you were your usual excited self–eager to see your friends and spend the summer swimming. Upon seeing one of your coaches from last year, Jon, you immediately became very quiet and bashful. When Jon came over to say hello, you looked as if you would have crawled back up inside of me if it were possible. After some tears were shed upon entering the pool, you seemed to calm down. That is until Jon acknowledged you in the water and immediately your face scrunched up and the tears started flowing again.

I had asked your dad to come with me to the next practice because I suspected that him being present would help calm you down. This time, upon seeing Coach Jon, you immediately became very giddy and silly all the while, never taking your eyes off of him. After observing this behavior and your bipolar reactions for the duration of swim practice, we’ve come to suspect that maybe you have a crush on him. It suddenly all made sense. Thankfully Coach Jon is a good sport and now only talks to you in passing. He knows not to linger and to make zero eye contact with you. Suddenly practices have gone a lot smoother. Lord, help us all when you become a teenager and your hormones actually kick in.

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From last summer, here you are with Coach Jon with his hand on your shoulder. You are no doubt probably suffering a small heart attack at this moment.

Given my days are so busy now, I often have to walk Fabrizio at night. Sometimes you walk with me and we have lovely little conversations where we talk about most anything and everything and I’m always taken back by your personality and maturity when talking. Your storytelling skills are hilarious–with a flick of your wrist and with absolute seriousness you’ll say, “I told Eleanor to calm down. I really need quiet sometimes.”

Occasionally when we’re walking you even ask to hold my hand. On our most recent walk, I too had a rush of emotions when I realized that you’re more than half my height! There you were, a big kid walking alongside of me, telling me about your day and I realized how fleeting these moments are. There will come a day when you will no longer ask to hold my hand except maybe my death bed and then another wave of emotions flooded me–I’M GOING TO DIE! You see, us women, we’re a hot mess. Our sensitive nature can be debilitating at times but the best thing to do is to acknowledge that you’re teetering on the edge and you can sit here for a minute or two and then you have to bring it in. I shed some tears in that moment of discovery and I realized if I dwelled on those emotions for too long, I would have missed that wonderful moment between us. I came to my senses just as you decided to sing ‘Let it Go’ and suddenly I couldn’t escape fast enough. It’s a trap!

Love,

Momma

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