Monday, October 25, 2010

Rose Colored Glasses?

It is a funny thing to see your kids through other people's eyes. I have three, and most of the time I think I am pretty good at cataloging where they stand in most instances. Tabbi is scary smart, and I can see that. But, she has the makings of an evil genius more so than Bill Gates the Second. She has potential in many things from music to sports, but her drive or motivation (or lack thereof) will end up keeping her pretty average. Will is a lover. He is sweet and playful, but overly sensitive and stubborn. He is LOUD beyond belief and his mommy-centrism keeps him from really exploring and enjoying new activities. Jack is Jack. He is funny and goofy and stubborn and sometimes down right mean. That little man will put his nose right on yours and smile like he is going to give you an Eskimo kiss and then WHACK! Here's a right hook to your cheek from out of nowhere. He thinks he rules the roost and he doesn't take no for an answer. See? I can admit the faults in my kids.... but then I get faced with someone else's opinion of the kids and suddenly... I have to wonder. Could I have rose colored glasses on and not even know it?

My friend Homa calls Will "lively." It's not really a slam, but it isn't a compliment either. I consider him active until someone points out that his activity isn't necessarily the most endearing quality. I sit here and say that I would rather have him be moving and shaking rather than zombied out in front of the boob tube, but then people will call him "active" or "lively" with a more annoyed tone and I am left to ponder... is he obnoxious? Are we heading down the ADHD super highway, and I have blinders on? How do you know if what you see as a positive because you love your dude so much is really a negative?

Other things have been called to my attention, too. Will has some pretty unsavory table manners right now, and I work really hard during meals to get him to behave. But, I chalk up his short comings to the fact that he is four and really... if the shrimp is too spicy, I would spit it into my napkin, too. But, then even my mom will say things like "I wish he would get past that already." Not an insult, but a wake up call that maybe I am not doing enough to get him back on the manners track. Jack will only let the person HE wants do things like buckle his car seat or turn on his Mickey Mouse show on TV. He wants who he wants, when he wants them. I realize that this is annoying, but sometimes I would rather pick my battles and avoid the tantrums and just do it his way. Not always, but sometimes. But, am I just reinforcing his moods? The assumption that he will grow out of that stuff dissuades me from getting all upset about it. But then I see the upset in others and wonder if my complacence is the problem after all.

It is hard to see the negatives in your own children. When some people are so clearly annoyed with what you kid is doing, and you see it as just a kid being a kid... who is wrong? I used to be a card carrying member of the "Kids Don't Belong in Public Unless They Sit Down and Shut Up" club, but now that I have the non-sitters and non-shutter uppers, I can see that I was wrong to be so judgemental and harsh. Or, when I let my little boy walk around our table as long as he stays out of the way... maybe I am wrong to be so lax and permissive? Maybe it is time that I get new glasses, and maybe this time I need to make sure they are clear... not rose colored. Then again, maybe my kids are OK, and the rest of the world could just sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy them for what they are... children.


Tuffy said...

Yup. Relax. Will is 4. Energy is good. He'll learn to funnel it. And dad and I were still battling about table manners when I was 20. He'll get over that too.

The Jack thing needs to be worked on. At some point he'll have to learn he doesn't always get his way. But he's 2. 2 year olds don't know empathy. He'll learn. Or you can start smacking him around too.

And Tabbi... remember, lack of motivation comes from boredom too. I'm relearning that from this job.

Amie said...

I think Will being described as "lively" or "active" by others with a hint of annoyance but you not seeing it that way is probably due to you being with him so much and being totally used to him being active. Others might have kids that do chill in front of the tv (something you might see as a negative) and being around a little boy who is really active is just not what they're used to. Neither of you are right or wrong, it's just different kids and different households.

As for letting them walk around the table as long as they stay out of the way in restaurants, I think you're right...some kids aren't going to sit down for a complete meal because they're kids, and that's how kids are. Others sometimes (myself included...but I'm working on this) just need to learn tolerance and understanding. Of course, if the kid is coming over to my table and throwing food at me then the parent is in denial.

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Mike - You are right about all of it. Who knew you are so wise?

Amie - Ok, so what if my kid didn't throw food at you, but instead just asked for a bite? Is that wrong?