I think my son finds me exasperating at times. I am a chatterbox by nature and he’s much more subdued. He prefers to ponder things quietly rather than discuss them in great detail ( the way I do.)
It’s my downfall really. I never shy away from a good debate and am fiercely argumentative inquisitive. Probably more than I should be if we’re being completely honest but in the end, it’s all about resolution for me. I’m the kind of person who can’t sleep if I have ‘unfinished’ business to contend with.
But Nikolas is different.
He doesn’t feel the need for long -winded discussions and is perfectly content keeping conversations to a minimum.
That worries me a little.
What if he doesn’t open up about what’s happening in his life?
What if me ( the extrovert) and he ( the introvert) can’t find common ground? What if he doesn’t ever want to share all of the things happening in his beautiful little world. Naturally, my way of dealing with this, to prevent it even, is to bombard him with a million questions.
How was school? Who did you sit next to at lunch? Who was the teacher’s helper today? What games did you play outside? Did you choose a new library book?
And he often answers with very short sentences and one letter words. He shrugs and tells me his day was ‘fine’ and he doesn’t feel like talking anymore.
Hold on one second here.
You don't want to talk?!? Anymore?!? what does that even mean?!
You have to understand that for me, this is excruciating. The reason I feel such incredible turmoil over this is because deep down, I’m afraid of what this means for Nikolas and me. I want to be a part of his life and I want him to communicate with me. A small part of me fears there is only a small window of opportunity to form that bond. I just hope I haven't missed it. How will I get into that much coveted circle?
I’ve tried many different ways to approach our discussions. Over a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Just as he’s drifting off to sleep. During a mean game of snakes and ladders. And up until a month ago, I got the same response every single time: Mommy. My day was fine. Stop asking me about it over and over.
It’s a blow to my maternal ego. The part of me that likes to think I am approachable and trustworthy, that my children will come to me and share every detailed little secret. We’ll chuckle and discuss and contemplate and resolve. Maybe I’ve grown so accustomed to my daughter’s ‘open book policy’ that I’ve come to expect that from Nikolas too.
But I need to change that way of thinking.
I need to treat them like beautiful, bright constellations. Unique and perfect in their own way. Brilliant and distinct. Absolutely mesmerizing, with their own story to tell. With their very own, distinct place.
It’s so very hard to do at times. The balance of wanting them to flourish by developing their own personality, and yet, needing them to be tiny bit like you.
I love parenting Nikolas. He’s a joy. Truly, he is.
I love that he can ‘let things go.’ That he’s not concerned by small details. That his approach to most things is uncomplicated. That he can make decisions without a lot of lingering or skepticism or deep-seeded second-guessing. I love that when we’re shopping he’ll say; mommy! We came for undershirts. Can’t we just buy them and leave?!?
I just have to find ‘our thing’ I thought to myself a couple of months ago. That thing we do together that’s just for us.
And then, in the midst of making dinner one night, he pulled up a chair next to me and started tossing the salad. He often does that but this time, he started sharing things about his day. He was so preoccupied with his newfound job, that the conversation flowed without any pauses.
And lately, in the midst of stirring and tasting and peeling he opens up a bit more about his day. About the things he did and the people he met and the kids he played with. About things he found amusing or a favorite book he discovered at the library.
They’re small things. But it’s really all about the small things you know.
About a month ago, Nikolas and I went for a drive and we stopped for lunch at the most delightful little café. I fell in love with the décor and the pantry selections ( the parmesan salt, delicious chutneys and homemade bread caught my eye right away.) And the food. It was perfect in every way.
If you haven’t been to Edible Matters, you really must give it a try. The wonderful folks at EM are sharing a delicious recipe for their roasted carrot curry and giving one of our lucky readers a $25 gift certificate to their beautiful establishment. All you have to do is "share" this link and leave a comment below. Draw date will be Friday, May 31st.
It’s the perfect place for a date with your favorite little boy. And who knows, perhaps you’ll discover new and exciting things about him. Maybe he’ll tell you all about his day and share his precious little secrets. And I know I can’t push my luck here. I can’t bombard him with a million questions in typical Nicholetta style. I need to listen to his cues and scale back when he’s had enough. When he’s showing me he needs some space, I need to listen. I need to play it cool and act like I’m not so deliriously interested. Even though I really am. Even though hearing about his day, is the highlight of mine.