Thursday, June 2, 2011


When I take Nate to the park, which is almost every day, strangers often comment on two things: Nate's verbal abilities and his sharing. And when people comment on these qualities, I am filled {bursting} with pride. I want to exclaim, "I know, right?! He does have an amazing vocabulary for his age! I've been reading to him since he came home from the hospital and using baby sign language since he was four months old. And he does share really well. Oh, and have you seen him throw a ball?!" But, instead, I get sort of embarrassed. Uncomfortable. I mutter with a smile, "yeah, he's quite the motor mouth." And then I get mad at myself for downplaying his accomplishments.

Maybe I do this because, right or wrong, I connect Nate's achievements with my own and I've never been comfortable with compliments. I know the proper thing to do upon receiving a compliment is to simply smile and say, "thanks!" rather than, "I don't know, you don't think it makes my butt look big??" And when a compliment is directed my way, I try to do that. But when people comment on something Nate is doing, it's not always quite a compliment, and it certainly isn't always meant for me.

When one of these comments comes our way, there is often an implicit comparison to the person's own child. And this adds to my discomfort. If I react too positively to their statement, am I indicating that I think their child is lacking? I would hate to be perceived this way. All children have different strengths and one child might have great balance and never fall - unlike Nate (ugh, I'm doing it again!) - where another child might be incredibly naturally empathetic. When it comes to Nate's verbal capabilities, I think he was definitely blessed with an aptitude for communication.  But in addition to his natural gifts, I do feel like I have done everything I possibly could to assist him. And so because he is my son, my heart, and I have worked hard, I am proud.

And when it comes to sharing, of course temperament plays a huge role. How much I owe to luck for his attitude, I will never know. But teaching and leading by example plays a big role too. And I have pounded it in his head (in the gentlest way, of course) that it's nice to share and take turns. We don't grab and we ask for things with a please and thank you. A year from now he may be shoving kids on the ground and stealing their steamrollers (at which point, the pendulum will swing the other way and I will blame myself), but right now he's doing well when it comes to sharing trucks with the other children. And so, I am proud.

So my plan is to work on my responses. Find a happy medium. In the meantime, here is a video of Nate tossing a ball back and forth with me. You can't really tell, but he has fantastic aim. I have had zero to do with the development of this skill... but I'm still very proud.

the camera is on a bookcase, thus, the weird angle

How do you react to positive statements from strangers? Am I the only nutcase in this area?
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