But it's also a cause for worry. In a brawl with her brother and sister, although she is ferocious, she is easily outweighed by the other two. She is physically just not as big and not as able to overpower anyone. She constantly runs to me for assistance and I try and just explain to her that fighting is not really in her best interest, size not withstanding, but her stubborn streak continually gets her into trouble and she tries her best to just defend herself.
But I'm most sensitive to her and her personality. She is shyer than the other two, more tentative, more careful and more cautious. She is much more reserved (unless with the people she is most comfortable with) and generally internalizes a lot of things. She gets scared easily and because of that, I often don't push her the same way I push Daughter #1, who is in many ways, just a workhorse who isn't afraid to work. Daughter #2 has been taking swim lessons, but expressed to me a few months ago, her fear of going to the deep water where she wouldn't be able to touch the bottom. That fear, I could understand, so although she kept on passing the 3rd level of her swimming, I did not push her to move to the 4th level. I thought that there was no point in getting her agitated and more scared of the water and just preferred to have her stay where she was.
But after Daughter #2 passed the class the fourth time, I gritted my teeth and decided to have her move to level 4, only she would have to swim with the bigger kids, as the younger kids class did not fit our scheduling needs. She would be swimming with her tiny size, with 6-12 year olds and I worried and fretted about my decision for over a week. I wondered if she were strong enough, brave enough, and physically able to be in the same class with the bigger kids. I had nightmares and worried about it, but to Daughter #2, I was brightly confident, reassuring and motivating. "You are going to be fine!" I kept telling her, while meanwhile my stomach would sink somewhere below my knees in fear of her failure, which would be in turn a failure of judgment on my own part.
Before the lesson started, I had a private word with the teacher, whom I knew from Daughter #1's swimming lesson. I asked him to make an evaluation if the class was going to be too overwhelming for her and to let me know. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched Daughter #2 slip into the water confidently, and the watched as three other significantly older kids also hopped in; my heart sank. I waved goodbye and rushed over to the lap lane where I would be able to observe her up close, without really intruding on her space.
She was third in line for the drills and on the first one, I was stunned when I realized that she was swimming far more strongly than I had ever seen her swim. She had to swim double the length she had been swimming in level 3 and finished it with confidence and even faster than one of the older kids. I started bawling under the water, fogging up my goggles as I couldn't believe it. She was fine. She was better than fine. She did better than other kids. She did better than my expectations.
And it made me realize, that even my teeny tiny little one, needs a chance to spread her wings and experience challenges.
After class, I had these wings ready for the family and I must say, they were gobbled down. In my head I was symbolically giving Daughter #2 some wings, but she decided the wings must be eaten...and eat them she did. They are slightly spicy, warm with fragrance and delicious to eat with the Israeli Couscous with Cranberries.
Moroccan Spiced Chicken Wings
3 lbs chicken drummettes and wings, separated (I get mine from Costco - and I have to separate the wings from the drummettes.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Juice of one lemon
Additional olive oil for drizzling, if desired. (drizzle a bit of oil after chicken is in the pan for extra crispy skin.)
In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except for chicken together. You should have a nice thick paste. Add chicken to the paste and massage spice mixture into each piece so that every piece is evenly coated. (You can refrigerate at this point for up to 24 hours. Before cooking, allow the chicken to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to take the chill off.)
Preheat oven to 400. Place chicken in a single layer on a roasting pan. Cook for 30 minutes until chicken is tender, then increase heat to 500 and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until chicken is crispy and caramelized.