Sometimes Sweet

Tiny Mirror

In so many ways, looking into the face of Sean is like looking into a tiny mirror. I look at him and see me 44 years ago. I see in him the frustration that comes easily with mechanical things, square pegs that don’t fit into round holes, top-heavy things that tip over, gutter covers and easy open zip lock bags that don’t work as you imagine they will and that sort of thing. In this regard, I don’t want him to be like me because that means he might be in for a life of hurling objects across a room and that’s not good. My prayer is that he will learn to become patient and analytical, like his father.

Yet in other ways he is not like me at all. For example, this week I took him to story time at the local library for the first time. There was a grandmotherly lady who obviously had a lot of experience teaching small children. She read several books to the children and lead them through some songs with hand gestures and dance steps. She held their attention and they were all enamored of her. All the kids sat at her feet on a special rug with safari animals on it. They climbed all over one another to sit near her and get her attention and please her. All the kids, that is, except for Sean who sat on my lap like a potted plant.

When I was Sean’s age I would have had my mom drop me at the curb. I would have been in the middle of the crowd of kids, entertaining everyone whether they wanted it or not. I would have been organizing the post story-time cocktail party. I would have been making the teacher wish either she or I was on another planet. I was social. I was vibrant. I was noisy and obnoxious and I simply could not contain my exuberant self.

After story time, I asked Sean if he enjoyed it and would he would like to go again next week. “Yes,” he said, “But I just don’t want to sit on the rug.”

“Sure, okay,” I agreed. “Why not?”

“It makes me feel anxious,” he said soberly.

I sighed. Only middle-aged people in therapy should say that. And then I sighed again thinking that inside my three-year-old lives a middle-aged person in therapy — a middle-aged person in therapy who is blaming his mother for having tortured him with story time at the library.

27 thoughts on “Tiny Mirror

  1. I love the way our kids repeat things they hear like that. My son is notorious for pulling out some sayings that died before I was born (courtesy of his Papa) at just the right moment. It cracks me up.

    But, I do feel for you on the shy issue. My son used to be the same way. Slowly, he is getting better at being more outgoing.

  2. Mine’s kind of like the flip side of me, too. Only she’s shy in the beginning then she’s running the show. I was shy all the way through.

  3. My son is like that too. He just gets overwhelmed by all those kids and being in close quarters. I’ve just learned not to push him too much and he’ll go when he’s ready.

  4. This post reminded me of the time when my then 3 year old son was heard sighing. He looked up and said “Everything I do makes me feel guilty.” It took us weeks to figure out that he was repeating something that Charlie Brown said on Snoopy Come Home. We kept telling him that he didn’t even know what guilty meant. Yikes. I thought we were in for a lot of therapy there.


  5. True, you are a middle-aged Mom, but he is an only child and used to your undivided attention. That darlin’ boy that you hauled to WalleyWorld yesterday for toys is just showing you how safe and happy he is in your presence. I wouldn’t trade his sitting on my lap for all the secure rug sitters for anything. Mom rocks! I wish you would put the tape back on of him wanting to sit on your lap from last month. That was precious.

  6. One of my daughters won’t sit on the rug for story time at our library either and it KILLS me. Because I feel like she is missing out on the fun because of her fear. *sigh*

    P.S. My other daughter is not afraid of anything.

  7. You could be Steve Martin in “Parenthood” in the scene where he son becomes a sniper in college while screaming, “You made me play second base!”.

    I just don’t see the same results stemming from a trip to the library. I think you’re safe.

  8. My girl was, and is, a lap dog. If there is a lap anywhere near her–especially one she loves–she will be in it. She’s 8 1/2.
    He loves story time from the comfort of your lap, and seeing as how he’s pretty determined about the pecking order of the night time routine with Antique Daddy, this might be the only story time you get. 🙂

  9. “All the kids, that is, except for Sean who sat on my lap like a potted plant.”

    I think your prayer has been answered, for this is what patient and analytical people do 😉

  10. I know you won’t be able to imagine this, but I was just like you AM. I wanted to be social, in the thick of things and making the teacher wish that I was on another planet… Oh wait that’s not what YOU meant. Well, there it is anyway.

    I feel the same way about my daughter. I want her to have as much fun as I did and to be Miss Social, but I’ve come to accept that God gave me a girl who doesn’t always want the same things I did. And that’s okay. I don’t want her feeling that she’s failed some kind of comparison test with me. I want her to be comfortable in her own personality and her own way of enjoying life.

    I say just lay a little blanket down for Sean to sit on during the reading time. Of course, I also say that there’s nothing wrong with holding your little man as long as he’ll let you because I have a not so little girl who is only agreeing to such acts of love when we’re at home.

  11. Max is like that too. He has always told me that being in a group is “too much pressure.” What?!? You aren’t even in double-digits yet, kid!

  12. Yes, I agree that he is cultivating analytical-ness and patience as he watches all those goof-balls climb all over one another and act like children!!!! Love your blog, and your sense of humor!!! I guess I started coming here via BooMama, but it feels like home, so I really can’t remember.

  13. I think it’s wonderful that he knows what he is feeling and can identify it for you. I’ve got a granddaughter who can’t do that yet, and the result is screaming and sobbing and rejection of the whole activity. Plus, I think you may be pleasantly amazed when Sean launches out and does something he has decided he is ready to do. We moved to a new city when my elder daughter was five and she, normally both shy and anxious, went up and down the new street, dragging her younger sister, and knocked on every door to ask if there were any kids their age to play with living there.

  14. That is so funny!!! I bring my twins to story time and my son must sit in my lap as well – he’s never verbalized anxious – but now I think I get the picture 🙂

  15. I know exactly what you mean. My 6 yr. old son is a 65 yr. old man in a little boy body. I know that God wired him the way he did because, otherwise, he wouldn’t know to say some of the things that he does!

    Rachel Langston

  16. LOL. My nephew (who is now nearly 12) was like that at a toddler…saying things like, “that makes me anxious.” When he was 3 or so I took him to McDonald’s and he told me he liked the cashier: “because she recognizes I’m a human and treats me like an adult.” LOL. He is a delight…and I doubt he’ll end up in therapy! (He might be a therapist!) I LOVE your blog!!
    His Girl

  17. My little guy is more like me all the time, to the consternation of those who find us introverts to be a little … challenging. His day care provider ‘fessed to me that sometimes he just disappears, and she’s figured out that when the other boys get a little too much of a head of steam up, my little guy just slips through the babygate (which he’s learned to open AND SHUT correctly) and goes up to one of her kids’ bedrooms and quietly plays with the toy cars until things die back down.

    It’s so very much what I would do, if it were me….

    So far, though, nothing has rendered him “anxious” that couldn’t be solved by rubbing his face against my arm, though.

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