I think one of the most amazing things about being a parent is discovering who these little people will become. You get to be the first to find out their likes and dislikes, the quirks on their attitudes, what makes them unique in every way! And to me that is one of the best parts of raising a child. Which is also one of my biggest problems with some advice from others. So many times I have had people tell me that if we push Jareth toward something he will learn to like it: food, certain sports, a TV show, or other interests. I have always been resistant to any type of "leading" behavior, instead going about my life as I normally would and just hoping that Jareth would see something that he liked. (The only exception being that I read to him every night when he was younger, picking books he would not have for himself to challenge him).
In this way I have discovered that Jareth prefers hockey to football, but he likes it much better in person. He loves bright upbeat music ("Count on Me" by Bruno Mars) but also loves anything by Imagine Dragons ("Radioactive" and "Demons" being his top two). He happens to like all the superheros I despise (Spiderman and Batman being his top two). His favorite food is grilled sandwiches, one of my least favorite to make.
By letting Jareth figure out things for himself he has developed one very unique person with some things he has in common with me and my husband and some things that are all his own. I love hearing him say that he loves something, reading for instance, and knowing that it is all him, something we have in common because he is drawn to it, not because I pushed it so heavily on him. (Yes I did read to him for a while at night, but once he got to the point where he could pick I would let him choose which book, if any, we would read.) It is a thrilling thing for me.
I see it also with Livia. She is a very special child, crazy is the best way I describe it. But there are times amid the chaos (something I swear I never endured with Jareth) when I see bits of me. The way she dances around in circles. The way she just loves to run outside barefoot onto the grass (something Jareth also does). Or the way she curls up in a chair with a baby-doll and a book to read like Mommy. It was also astonishing that after trying five different types of sandwiches the one that she finally liked is peanut butter and honey, one that I have never had but watched my father make so often.
As parents we are responsible for making these little people into productive members of society. We are supposed to teach them manners, values, respect, and responsibility. So after pushing all that on them why do we have to make them eat a carrot three times a week until they "learn" to like it? Why not just realize that corn is the one veggie they will eat for a few years and one day they will discover something else and realized they missed out for so long. Why do they have to listen to Radio Disney when there are tons of awesome songs with a message on our stations? Just because society thinks that one is healthier? Or that parents are supposed to do certain things with their kids? No thank you. I am working on raising individuals.
So my seven year old has a zombie survival plan and my two year old thinks "Can't Hold Us" is awesome dance music. I am good with that. At least they know not to eat with their elbows on the table and would never dream of talking back! Yeah, I am good with that.