My two-year-old little girl is smart, kind, funny and beautiful.
She is also stubborn, cheeky, rude and defiant.
She knows exactly what she wants out of life and how to get it. This may or may not involve the occasional tantrum or thrown object. Did I mention she turned two last week?
Because she often pushes boundaries as clearly any smart, two-year-old would do, there are times I must apologise to people. I'm the first person to put my hand up and admit that sometimes her behaviour is not acceptable.
But lately I'm finding myself apologising all the time. I'm saying sorry time and time again for things that, I feel, do not need to be apologised for.
So here it is: nine things I'm no longer saying sorry for.
1. I'm not sorry she doesn't want to say hello to you
Sometimes my little girl refuses to say hello. Sometimes she's the complete opposite and she'll greet everyone as we walk down the grocery aisle. But in the instance that she doesn't want to say hi and she hides behind my legs, that's okay. Don't take it personally.
I'm not going to apologise for her feeling shy and vulnerable at that moment. I'm going to tell her it's nice to say hi but if she doesn't want to, she can wait until she is comfortable to do so.
2. I'm not sorry she pushed in line
My little girl does kindergym and this often involves children doing set activities in a particular order. These kids are all a bit older and understand the concept of 'waiting your turn'. Well, my little girl and I are still working on that. If she pushes in, she didn't do it to "get in first' – she simply didn't see your child there waiting. She saw the equipment and wanted to play on it.
Yes, I'll gently move her off, point to the waiting child and explain it to her again and again. But she didn't mean it or do it with intent. If your five-year-old has a tantrum because their turn was delayed by 10 seconds, remind them they were two once as well.
3. I'm not sorry she wants my attention when you're talking to me
I am everything to my little girl. If she does something she's proud of, she wants to tell me. If she hurts herself, she wants to show me. She doesn't understand that grown ups are talking and she should patiently wait to tell me about a bug she saw in the grass. Sometimes I'll ask her to wait, other times I won't. I want to listen to her story and I want to be present for her in that moment.
I'm not always going to be her everything, so while I am, I am going to make the most of it.
4. I'm not sorry she accidently bumped into your child
My little girl is a tough nut. If she accidently bumps into someone, she'll dust herself off and continue on as if nothing happened. Sometimes, the other child isn't so tough and that little bump or bruise they've just copped results in a display suitable for someone being hit by a car.
I'm not apologising if my 12kg little girl accidently knocks into a child older and bigger than her. Those kids just have to harden up.
5. I'm not sorry I'm taking up the footpath
Yes, I have a pram. Inside that pram, I have a 13-week-old, and next to that pram is my toddler walking as fast as her little legs can go. That pram is packed to brim with every 'in case of emergency' item you can think of. It's safe to say I'm not moving off that footpath with a load that's already hard enough to push.
Of course I'd move for the elderly, disabled, or anyone who clearly needed the footpath more than myself, but if you're a fully able 17-year-old who scoffs as you have to step on the grass to walk around us ... tough.
6. I'm not sorry she gets dirty
Yes, I let my daughter play outside. Yes, she does get incredibly dirty. She's often covered in dog slobber, dirt and probably has horse poo in her shoes. That's life at my house. If your child comes over to play and they don't like the dirt, and scream when she comes close, I'm not apologising.
7. I'm not sorry that she stopped in front of you when you were walking
I hated children at the shopping centre before I had my own. I would wonder why their parents couldn't just keep them in line and stop them from walking in front of me or stopping in my way. Now I've got two, I feel their pain.
But if my little girl happens to stumble in your way, or stop to point to her shoe, deal with it. She doesn't know you're there and she doesn't care. Personally, I don't care that you're there either. Walk around us. It's not hard.
8. I'm not sorry she doesn't share well
My girl's definition of sharing is playing 'next to' another child. If she sees something she wants, she'll try take it. She adores playing with other children, but she is two. Toddlers are all about themselves. I am teaching her that sharing is the right thing to do and it can be rewarding to do so, but she doesn't agree with me yet.
And to be honest, all the kids she plays with does the same to her. I'd rather her snatch a toy off someone who has snatched it off her then be a doormat.
9. I'm not sorry for not saying sorry
My little girl is getting older and she needs to know that I've got her back. I'm no longer apologising and making her feel bad in instances where she hasn't really and truthfully done the wrong thing. I'm giving her space to grow and live and if that means hurting some feelings along the way, so be it.