My good friend Angelle posted this on Pinterest today. (I originally dropped the full-sized image directly into this post, but, holy moly, that was obnoxious. ‘Tis better to open in another window.)
It’s hard to put a child into any one box. Evie has at times displayed characteristics contained in all four categories. Upon further consideration, I’ve decided she shows up strongest in categories 1 and 2.
Identify your child’s true nature
Primary connection to the world
Evie is, right down to her pink painted toenails, a social butterfly. She opens up into her happiest self when surrounded by lots of friends. But she’s also emotional. Really, really emotional.
I wouldn’t call her “random,” but she has been known to bounce. She’s most definitely not “subtle,” but is extremely thoughtful. Homegirl’s head is full of thoughts. Oy. The thoughts, they never cease.
We are a “happy” and “connected” family. But now that I know that these are Evie’s “primary needs,” you can be sure I’m gonna freak out and obsess over that little nugget. I will now spend an embarrassing amount of time asking the Internet how we could be more connected and happier. Thanks a lot, Child Whisperer. My beleaguered husband thanks you, too.
To me “bright” implies a certain kind of intelligence. It’s describes a quick mind with a unique awareness and interpretation of the world. That’s Evie. “Friendly” we got. “Light-hearted” I’m not so sure about. Evie takes things too personally for that. She is very “gentle” and “tender”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen or been told about Evie’s comforting a friend who’s upset. And all her friends’ younger siblings flock to Evie. She’s always so soft-voiced, sweet and patient. Meanwhile, her friends roll their eyes at her and mutter, “Gimme a break, Langston. You don’t have to live with them.”
Also, if “gentle” and “tender” mean snuggly, then we got that in spades. Olympic-caliber snuggling over here, folks.
“Mindful?” I would say that’s true about 63.5% of the time. So proud of that 63.5%, though.
Okay, here’s the part where I judge my child. Or continue to, I guess. Evie’s not “shy” and she’s active but not in a “hyper” way. I can’t really call her “unreliable” because she doesn’t have any responsibilities. Time will tell for that one. Since I’m already judging I’ll go ahead and say I can see it becoming an issue.
Now, “wimpy”. As Evie says, that’s a “hurt feelings word.” But judging doesn’t usually come with warm fuzzies, so. And I could see how she could be considered such in certain instances. As her mother, I won’t commit to it, but I will jump all over “hypersensitive.” Good lord. After Evie turned four, I started a campaign to convince my daughter that true injustice is rare among the four-year-old set. That every slight, whether real or imagined, does not warrant a meltdown. That sometimes the world will not treat her like she feels she deserves, and that’s life and buck up, kid. I feel I’m doing Evie a solid on this one.
Interpret the tantrum
Evie erupts into furious anger when she feels “unheard or dismissed” or when her “plans are ignored”. A popular accusation directed at me lately is “Why do you get to choose all the time?” My first instinct is to respond with “Because I’m the mom, fool!” I don’t think that’s fair on my part, though. What’s the harm in letting Evie choose sometimes? Especially if doing so saves me from the blue-eyed demon look of death. Because yikes.
She also can not abide alone time. She’ll do all right for a little while and occasionally for a long while. I have some difficulty with this because I was completely opposite as a child. Loved me some alone time. Hours and hours of it. Here’s the secret, though. Most of the time Evie doesn’t want you to actually do anything with her per se. She just wants you to bear witness to what she’s doing. She wants an audience. That’s actually kind of awesome. She does want you to play dollhouse with her, however. And for people like Gill and me, that is not awesome.
As for “serious” and “intense”, I don’t know. I know it’s hard to believe, but things are rarely ever serious around here. So, I don’t know what that would do to Evie. I’d rather someone else find out, though. Serious sucks.
Be Intuitive, Not Reactive
I love to surprise Evie. When I picked her up from school on October 1st there was little punkin sitting in her carseat in celebration of….well, October. She still talks about that surprise. Sometimes I’ll make a face at her when she’s really pissed off at me. I love that she doesn’t consider the “wrongness” of my funny face for a moment. She doesn’t miss a beat. She just breaks into a big, beautiful grin.
I will “reassure” but I will not coddle. Hello, my name is Big Ol’ Meaniehead.
I will “facilitate friendship,” and I have done. A lot. But I draw the line at asking complete strangers in the park for their phone numbers because you had fun playing with their children, Evie. I have to maintain some dignity, child.
Because she’s part category 1, it’s hard to get that part to let the category 2 in her to relax. But I agree it’s essential. Dr. Jekyll needs some down time, Mr. Hyde.
The “connecting” part is important, too. Evie needs to feel you understand. She needs eye contact. She needs to hear her side of things said back to her. Just those few things can diffuse the mightiest of tantrums.
As for “having fun,” I’d have to post an example of one of our You Tube video dance parties. Those are the most fun.
P.S. Thanks, Angelle, for the pin. You saved my ass today, friend.