Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mommy Lessons 34,612 and 34,613

Mommy Lesson #34,612: Icing without cake is just icing.

A definition...
Outgoing: extroverted, talkative, or sociable

I submit that there are times when a Mr. (or Ms.) Outgoing  can turn out to be a lowdown, backstabbing Class A jerk. That is, there are a lot of people in this world who've got lots icing, but no cakey goodness inside.  IOW, good personality, but bad values or ethics.

(Oh, you don't know anybody like that?  Maybe you haven't looked hard enough?  Think.) 
(Still no?)  
(This is awkwaaaard.)
(Because I'm probably talking about you.)

Extrovert or introvert is icing.  What constitutes cakey goodness?  Compassion, kindness, respect.  Stuff like that.  You know, values.

Before I became a mother, I had a vision of the perfect child.  
Outgoing, a risk taker yet very obedient, popular and friendly, talkative, charming, confident, strong, aggressive when she needed to be but extremely compassionate, intelligent, a fighter, a winner, the list goes on and on.

Three years later, I'm beginning to think that people who are overly invested in visions are either messengers of God or just clinically insane.  

My daughter, N., has a lot of the qualities that I dreamed of in that original vision, but not all of them. (You can read more about her personality and my opinions regarding it on the post, Shy Kid.) 

Oh, I know she may change dramatically, and I understand that she's only three.  But, know what?

I don't care if she stays exactly the same. (Well, I could do without the feet stomping that occurs following a negative response to "Can I have Teddy Grahams for dinner?").  

I love her because of  her quiet ways, her discernment, and her reserved manner in the company of whomever she deems an outsider.  And please notice that I didn't say, "I love her, anyway."  

Because there's nothing wrong with the kid who doesn't hug strangers or the kid who still won't hug you after she's met you five times.  Extroverts don't hold superiority over introverts. A talkative risk taker is no better than a reflective thinker.  Talkative and reflective, after all, are descriptions which are generally independent of ethics, values and morals.

I've thought very hard about my original "I want this kind of kid" wish list today, the day after I've withdrawn N. from preschool because of three weeks of non-stop crying. 

A lot of books and a lot of people said she would cry because of separation anxiety.  That she would stop about twenty minutes after I left.  Well, she didn't stop.  She cried.  And cried, and cried.  Some of you might offer one of the following nuggets of wisdom:
I'm not doing her any good by coddling her, she has to learn to work this stuff out on her own.
She's never going to learn how to be social if I don't put her in social situations.
Children learn when they're pushed.
Change is always uncomfortable.  

Well, "some of you" can just zip it and mind your own business.  The rest of you can keep reading.

I know, in my heart, that my daughter's crying wasn't normal separation anxiety.  It was a meaningful attempt on her part to tell me and anyone else who was willing to listen that she is not ready for this.  

Mommy Lesson #34,613: No PhD, M.D., other kid's parent, friend or teacher should hold veto power over one's feelings about what's best for their own child.

N. told me,  I'm not ready, Mama. (Yeah, she calls me Mama, how precious is that?!)

I hear you, N., I hear you.  You're not ready.  That's fine.  I'm not ashamed of you for not being ready, and you don't have to be ashamed either.

Another definition...
Respect: due regard for the feelings and desires of others.

Now that's some seriously delicious cakey goodness.

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Blogger sybil law said...

I have a shy kid, too! At least, she's shy around people she doesn't know, and pretty much a little nutjob around those she does know. My issue with my own vision (I think most parents have that vision, don't they?!) is that her shyness has become almost crippling. She gets so, so anxious when she has to approach someone on her own, or even walk into her classroom by herself. It's really killing me because I don't know how to deal with it!
But you're right - on the inside she's sweet, and smart, and kind, and she is ridiculously honest for a 6 year old. That's what really counts.
I trust your own instincts for your daughter than anyone else's opinion.
You know what they say opinions are like, right?!
You're a great mama.

Thursday, 18 September, 2008  
Blogger shabyna said...

completely agree! no one knows a child like the mother does and alhamdulillaah for that! Allaah has put such strength and emphasis on this connection for a reason :)

Friday, 19 September, 2008  
Blogger Avitable said...

I'm an introvert, too.

It's a good thing that you love your daughter, because she's going to live with you until she's 40 now. :D

Friday, 19 September, 2008  
Blogger Tariq said...

great post. You've done a fantastic job with N. As with everything else, N has to be introduced to a concept and then we have to back-off until she is ready, at which point she does it perfectly. Sybil's right about opinions. Raising a child is not like a mathematical equation and so I don't care what the experts or wannabe experts say, but each child is different.

Friday, 19 September, 2008  
Blogger Komal said...

I think N is a pretty brave little girl. School/strangers are pretty darn frightening even now...being just 'ready' for them takes a long time. <(This is coming from an adult - I can only imagine how it would be for a child).

Friday, 19 September, 2008  
Blogger Faiqa said...

sybil: Motherhood is so humbling. It's taught me that I care way too much about what other people think. And I def. don't want to bequeath that to my daughter. Both of our daughters are lucky to have great mamas!!

shabyna: well said.

avitable: I'm cool with her living me until she's 40. As long as she has a job. You're an introvert? Does that word mean something other than what I think it means? :)

tariq: it always comes back to math with you, doesn't it?

komal: actually, that's a great point. I think adults are just better at hiding their fears. Kids are honest. In many ways, they are pure reflections of the emotions that every adult feels.

Friday, 19 September, 2008  
Blogger RW said...

Sounds like the right call indeed. Your instincts are what matters here.

Monday, 22 September, 2008  
Anonymous Romeen said...

I think its so great that N is all that matters. To hell with what people think, you definetely know whats best for your child.

Monday, 22 September, 2008  
Anonymous Komal said...

I also liked your title. I see that eating just the icing with out the cakey part - just makes you fatty. Metaphorically speaking of course :) although I've done this a many times lol.

Monday, 22 September, 2008  
Blogger Faiqa said...

rw: thanks, I'm going to start trying to listen to those instincts BEFORE three weeks of crying tell me I'm right.
romeen: that means a lot coming from you. seriously.
komal:: between you and me (and everyone reading this comment) I've always preferred the icing to the cake. it just didn't go with the metaphor to admit it. :)

Monday, 22 September, 2008  
Anonymous Traci said...

From a person that comes in contact with about 100 kids per day, I totally agree. Children are all different. There isn't a cookie cutter response you can use on kids. I enjoy all the many roles I play in a day, and it's fun trying to figure each kid out. In the end, YOU have to do what is best for YOUR child and no one knows better than Mama... at least no one knows better than Mamas like you.

Thursday, 25 September, 2008  

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