Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On Being Dutch

PapPap: You're Dutch
No I'm not. I'm Sophie.

When Sophie was learning to talk, her grandparents had a really tough time understanding what she was saying. Well, we all had a really hard time, but since they didn't see her as often as we did and weren't around the jibberish-turning-into-words, it was even tougher for them.

My in-laws are from Pennsylvania and there's a saying that's come out of there; "You're Dutch."

I don't know where it comes from, but whenever Sophie would say something that obviously made sense to her, but didn't to her PapPap, he'd say she was Dutch. It took a long time, but the day came when Sophie said something silly and PapPap told her, "You're Dutch." Sophie immediately responded, "No I'm not. I'm Sophie."

The days of being Dutch are long gone because Sophie has made it clear that she is NOT Dutch. Another thing that's clear now is her speech so there's really no reason for that cute exchange between grandfather and grand daughter anymore.

It's a pretty young age for a person to have such a sense of self. I hope that she will always remember that she's Sophie and what a wonderful thing that is to be. I hope that when she's confronted with someone labeling her because of a specific trait or quality she's able to face them and strongly say, "No I'm not. I'm Sophie." We too often allow labels to attach themselves to us and end up losing sight of who we started out as and who we had dreams of being.

Sometimes when we're out somewhere I make the mistake many parents make when they try to get a youngster to talk to an adult when the young person doesn't want to. I say, "she's shy." I think I'm going to keep this Sophieism close to my heart so that before words like that can slip out I can see Sophie staring me down and saying, "No I'm not. I'm Sophie."

Thank goodness she is.

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