Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just a bit jaded

W.B. Yeats--"Come faeries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame."
My son.
I have heard debates and read articles before about mothers having favorite children. I have read about people deciding to only have one child because they don't believe it is possible to love another baby as much as they love their first, and they wouldn't want to do their second child an unjustice by loving their first child more. Well, I happen to have a lot of experience with this, and eventually, I shall have more. I am not done having children, and I can honestly say that I do not love any of my children more than the others.
I DO love them differently. But just as much.
For many people, I think this is hard to understand. I think it's a misunderstanding that is fairly easy to clear up with an example or two, but for now, I'm going to let it rest. I don't have any examples at the ready, and my post is not about loving my children differently. It isn't even necessarily about loving them all the same. Though, my post may end up being a perfect example of this, and proving my point. Either way, I digress.
I do feel that I have been a bit hard on my three year old son. He has a shaddow to him. He has more time-outs and 1...2...3...'s than either of my other children. He is amazingly affectionate and cares very much for his sisters. But he seems sad to me. Something about his eyes. I've noticed this for awhile now, watching him play, putting him to bed. He seems detatched. There is nothing wrong with him. He has exceptional language skills for a 3 year old, makes eye contact, loves to cuddle, and has a vast imagination. Usually, when he is pretending, he wants to be the bad guy. Once, after he had watched Star Wars with his dad (a ritual that my husband couldn't wait to share with his first son), he was being an extra naughty little thing and I asked him "What has gotten into you!? Why are you being so naughty?" His reply? "I'm just being 'Dark Vadar' mom!" It was very quickly agreed upon that if he wanted to play Star Wars, he needed to be a Jedi like Luke or Obi Wan or he needed to be Han Solo. Mostly, our house has been protected by "Mahoney One Kin- obee" since.
For some time, now, I have probably been too hard on myself about my mothering. I try to be a good mother, but I am not the most patient, or the most lenient. I am actually kind of strict, and I let them watch too much television (movies mostly). One thing I can say for myself, though, is that I love those little snots more than anything in this world.
My daughter is very vocal. Lilly will rattle off at me about how I'm being unfair and how I "don't sound pretty" when I yell. She is headstrong and stubborn and absolutely self assured. I think I make a bigger effort with her than I do the others because I see a lot of myself in her, and I do not want her to end up like me. I have made my fair share of mistakes, more than my share even, and I want her to be better. Perhaps that is not so good of me either. Eventually, I'll have to LET her make those mistakes if she is to learn anything and avoid being a repressed, depressed, resentful little thing in her early adulthood. I don't want to repress any of my children.
Scarlet is too young to really be mad at. She has time outs for things, and has a saucy little mouth that gets her there two or so times a day- but still, for now she's the baby and always seems "too young." She's not the baby of the family- that is certain, but seriously, I totally understand why the youngest child is always so spoiled. So what. That's where they happen to be in the food chain.
Mahone, though, is not quite so outgoing or self assured. I watch him in his nursery class at church and at his preschool class, where he has been going for 3 weeks now. All the kids dance and sing with the teachers, and do actions and jump. My son MIGHT bounce a little to the music, but usually only if he has to go to the bathroom.
This isn't to say he's SHY at all. He is a friendly child and likes to talk and make friends. He wants to be in soccer, though around here you have to be 5 to sign up, and only 3 to be in ballet lessons. Lets take a minute to digress here, and think about this. How does this make sense? I mean, little girls (or boys, but let's face it. Who REALLY wants to put their son in a ballet class?) can start doing a "creative" class when they are 3, and wear pretty pink leotards, tights and shoes and of course tutu's. But anything appealing to a BOY (soccer, martial arts, t-ball, etc.) requires them to be at least 5 years of age. So while I take my oldest to ballet class, and my son, my baby and I play on the grass if it's nice, or sit in the car and talk and eat gummies for snack until she is done with her class, my son is talking about when he is big enough to do soccer.
One might say that this is a great time for bonding and that it can be wonderful. Sure. Sure it can. I have tried to make it fun for him, and like a little one on one time. But really- what he sees is that his sister gets to have one more thing that he can't have, and his eyes grow a little more shaddowed. And is it fair for me to make Lilly stay OUT of dance classes just because her brother can't do anything until he's 5? Really? I don't think so. It's not her fault.
So, the question I pose is: How do I even this out? How do I give him just that extra level of love? How do I handle tantrums and time outs without making him feel just that much more jaded? How do I not look at my angel boy, and have my heart bleed for him?
Discipline is still needed. It is not okay for him to get away with things just because I feel I am sometimes too hard on him. But I figure that maybe I could slip him an extra piece of chocolate when I'm sharing a bar with my kids, and giving him extra compliments on his awesome ability to trace his name, or use 4 DIFFERENT colors on his homework will suffice. I know it will, because I spent a few minutes with him today while we played with his "knight in shiming hornor." that he got from the treat box at preschool. A little of that shaddow lifted from his eyes. Just a bit. But it brightened his day.
I just hope he doesn't grow up to be a supervillain.

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