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My Feet of Clay January 16, 2006

Posted by Amy in Uncategorized.

My in-laws took the boys to see the newest Harry Potter today, leaving Mr. T and me home with J, who has been playing Legos by herself for about two HOURS now. She’s a lot like V, who also loved (and still loves) to play on his own, even at an early age. I often think we’d have been the most arrogant, obnoxious parents on earth if we’d just had V and J–we would have believed it was our superior parenting skills which led to having independent, fairly well-behaved young children.

Thank god we had H, who revealed our feet of clay and humbled us way more than I’d really actually hoped to be humbled. (This humbling, it’s not a comfortable experience, I tell you.) He’s this incredibly loving, affectionate, intuitive kid–and he cannot be alone. Ever. He has almost never gone into his room and played with the many toys which live there (and which I threaten to box up and get rid of since they never get played with).

He likes playing with friends, with V and J, and on the computer. He also likes to watch TV, although that’s a far more interactive activity for him than it is for V and J. He rewinds, memorizes lines, acts events out and, thanks to Tivo, pauses commercials so that I can come into the room and see them. Having this kid who is so different from our other two has freed me from a lot of my previously-held beliefs about parenting, including the one about parents having a whole lotta control over their kids’ personalities.

Raising H, for instance, has led me to wonder if ADD kids may watch more TV because that’s how their parents stay sane and to think that the TV itself isn’t a causal factor but rather a symptom. H watches more TV than our other two kids. Now, maybe that’s partly because he’s the middle kid, and I was exhausted and pregnant for over a year, starting when he was 18 months old. V would go to school, and H and I would try the park and playgroups and then come home and collapse on the couch. Then J was born, and again H needed to be kept relatively quiet at times so I could get J down for naps.

But then again, V was also a toddler when I was pregnant and exhausted with H. V also had to be kept quiet while I got H down for naps. (Ha ha! That was a joke. H never took naps, unless you consider falling asleep for five minutes after nursing a nap, which I decidedly do not.) Well, whatever. At some point in H’s babyhood, I’m sure he slept and I needed to keep V quiet. The point is, V would let us turn off the TV, and he would go draw or read or play Legos or find something to do.

H just doesn’t do that, at least not yet. It’s not that we haven’t tried many, many times to bore him into playing independently. The reality for him is that he doesn’t want to be alone. Playing Legos in his room doesn’t interest him in the least, unless his siblings or friends are with him. This intensely shy kid is also a very social animal, and that’s a mix I think will serve him well in the future, despite the challenges he faces in overcoming that social anxiety.



1. Buzz - January 25, 2006

How true, and well put.

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