Encouraging My Daughter to Express Herself

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express herselfIt was supposed to be a superhero-themed day at camp when my nine-year-old put on a red cape and a huge full-headed unicorn mask and announced, “I’m a Herocorn!” I laughed so hard, admired her imagination, applauded her creativity, and felt so worried about her at the same time.

I have always encouraged her to express herself in any way she sees fit. She loves to dress up. She is a unicorn one day and a pirate the next. She is a fairytale princess for a few hours, then a handyman/woman for a few more hours. She owns dolls and Nerf guns. When she was four, she wanted to be a ninja and a scientist at the same time. At her preschool graduation, when she was asked what she wanted to be when she grows up, she replied, “An archaeologist and a doctor,” to everyone’s laughter. But I knew she was not just cute; she meant what she said. She wants to be many things and do so much…all at once.

My little girl is a thinker, often a philosopher who is constantly on a quest to make sense of things, especially those questions no one has answers to yet. An analyst who dissects every situation, idea, or information she comes across to minute details. Her racing thoughts and pouring ideas keep her up at night and even give her anxiety sometimes.

She is compassionate and cares about everyone and everything. She showers us with compliments, hugs, and kisses. It pains me how understanding and forgiving she can be just because I wish I were like that.

She has a profound sense of justice and equality. Her biggest dreams include ending homelessness and allowing women to run topless like men (it bothers her that sometimes women are not allowed to do the same as men). She is a passionate supporter of the LGBTQ community and hangs a huge flag on her bedroom wall that she is so proud of since she has gender identity questions.

When you talk to her, you will immediately notice the twinkle in her eyes with ideas and things to say while wandering away and seeming like she is somewhere else. You ask her to make sure she is listening, and she can repeat every word you spoke exactly how you said them.

She has extraordinary artistic abilities. She plays the piano since she was four, but she does not play the music as she should. She has to play it faster or make up her endings or come up with an entire addition to the piece she is playing. She writes beautifully, describing emotions and her surroundings in a very mature way. She draws fantastic characters and scenes. She plays video games and does coding. She is not athletic, although she tried out a few sports. She is interested in anything interactive and exciting but not dangerous as she is such a cautious little human. We nicknamed her Grandma when she was two because of how wise and cautious she acts and sounds.

Sometimes my girl struggles with emotions andsocial interactions. She finds it difficult sometimes to understand social cues. She is straightforward and honest to a fault (literally, she has no filter), and she does not get sarcasm often.

“Mom, I’m too unique. Kids say I’m weird. They do not want to play with me. Am I weird?” she cries. I tell her, “Just be yourself. There is nothing wrong with being unique and authentic. Just be you.”

But no matter how many times I say it, she still gets her feelings hurt by other kids’ comments. And I wish with all my heart that I can shield her from all harm’s ways, but I just cannot.

Now I say, “In a world full of unicorns and superheroes be a Herocorn!”

My girl has ADHD, high functioning ADS, and restless leg syndrome. My Herocorn is unique as can be and I’m so very proud of being her mom.

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Donia is an Egyptian stay at home archaeologist majored in Egyptology. Egyptology had always been her passion since childhood. But family is her biggest passion. She lives in Mount Kisco with her husband Ayman, their daughters Dania (b 2005) and Mirette (b 2012) and their cats Tiger and Drogo and their German Shepherd Max. She is also a stepmom to two girls Nada (b 1991) and Malak (b 1995), both moved out a few years ago and currently live in NYC. When she is not so busy taking care of her big family, she enjoys anything Sci-Fi and fantasy, watching cooking and baking competition shows, playing the drums, playing tennis with her husband, video games and DIY projects. She particularly enjoys event and travel planning for her family and always goes all out and prepares too much for an event according to her girls. She is excited to join Westchester County Moms to share her experience as an expat and as a mom.

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