It has been one of those weeks around here. You know the ones…my kids are acting like a bunch of wild…well, kids…and I keep wishing that they would just sit still and talk softly and act more like adults for a bit. Good luck with that, right?
As I was practicing my deep breathing techniques (aka: pouring a glass of wine once they were finally.in.bed.), it occurred to me that some of what frustrates me most now about their personalities, will truly be assets for them in the future. Take my son for example…
Oh that sweet boy of mine. You can see from a mile away that he is a special soul. Incredibly in tune with his feelings. Perhaps too in-tune because holy moly that child is SENSITIVE. Don’t even think about looking at him with your eyes in a somewhat crossed position. Also, watch what you say because sticks and stones may break his bones, but words will cut him deeper. You can imagine how much fun it is to talk him off the ledge he comes to daily in his 2nd grade peer interactions. Life would be so much easier for my sweet kid if he could only ignore, pick his battles, or perhaps let a stupid comment or two roll off his back. Oy! But, then I think about the kind of husband and father he will be…one that is in tune with his feelings and pays attention to those of others. Nurturing, gentle…a sensitive man…what a wonderful thing to be.
And then there is my oldest daughter. 4 years old with a piercing intelligence. You can see from her facial expressions that her mind is running a mile a minute. But please do not ask her to make a decision unless you have at least 20 minutes to spare. Girlfriend is INDECISIVE as all get out. Of course indecisiveness would have to be one of my biggest pet peeves in life (OMG just pick a yogurt already! We do not have to make a pros and cons list, nor poll the audience, over strawberry vs blueberry!!!). But she is so rational that she carefully weighs all options before making a decision. Any decision. At 4 years old, she already feels the responsibility that comes with being a decision maker. Pretty awesome when I think about it like that. She forgoes impulsivity for a thorough consideration of all factors and the practice she is doing now on seemingly trivial choices will serve her quite well in the heavy decisions that await her in adulthood.
When it comes to the littlest, I’ve really got my work cut out for me. She is all sorts of everything, but one trait that really stands out about my little girl is ASSERTIVENESS. It is documented in her baby book that she began throwing elbows before she began crawling. There has never been a moment in that child’s life when I’ve had to wonder what she was needing or wanting, and she will stop at nothing to get it. If I have to repeat the phrase “hands are not for hitting” or “feet are not for kicking” one more time, I might have to be committed. Older brothers and sisters are not supposed to be afraid of the younger one! Not that I condone violence in any manner (we’ll continue to work on that…), but how many women wish they were more assertive? More able to stand up for themselves or clearly communicate their needs? Granted, my daughter’s craft may need a little honing in, but this personality trait will take her places. I’m calling it now: CEO!
Sometimes parenting can be so short-sided (be kind, eat dinner, brush teeth, read books, get to bed at a reasonable hour, get.to.the.weekend – rinse and repeat!), that it is easy to lose sight of the long-term goals. That is, to allow our children the proper balance of space and guidance to do the necessary work of childhood, and then develop into happy, contributing adults. These tiny humans with big personalities, including some occasionally frustrating tendencies, are on their way to becoming pretty incredible adults. So, I put this into the universe as a reminder to myself: The next time my children are acting like children, I should take a deep breath…and let them.