Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When you don't want your kid to be just like you: Throwback Thursday

So I feel like I've been at this blogging thing now long enough that I've earned the right to re-post every once in a while. Recently, I was surprised when I went back through my old posts and reread some of my old stuff. Some of it is good. Good enough that it surprised me (as in: I wrote that sentence?!?). Some of it is barely okay (as in: Wow, I was really reaching with that post!). But all of it was a cool skip down memory lane...

I started this blog, initially, to talk about being a new mother. Writing has been my passion since forever. And I've always been an over-thinker. So when I was struggling (and I do mean: struggling) with new motherhood, I felt stifled in more ways than one. This blog became my outlet. It was a way to get out the words and phrases that were dancing around in my head. And it was a way to get out the frustrations and the fears that were banging up against my brain. So it's incredibly amusing (sometimes in that bittersweet way that only parents can fully appreciate) to go back and revisit some of my old crazy (and even the semi-normal) posts.

So I've decided that for a little bit, I will have my own Throwback Thursdays. (Disclaimer necessary here: I would love to say that I came up with that on my own, but Hubby has told me that I am required to give him the credit that is due. So here it is: He came up with the term and the day of the week I should use for my reposts. It was not my idea. It's not super original, I know, since I've already seen it all over the place out there in the internet world, but really, what is original these days? And in his defense, his internet time is limited to this blog, travel stuff, and probably porn so it was super original and clever for him. And honestly, I am super grateful because I probably would have wasted so many days trying to come up with The-Perfect-Catchy-But-Not-Too-Forced-Label for my reposts, that this post would still just be an idea in my head, with notations on my phone's notes app, for at least several more weeks.)

I picked today's repost as a shout-out to one of my blogging idols (she's probably gonna think I'm really weird for calling her that), Kitch Witch. I admire her so much that even Hubby knows her just by "Kitch," which is the pet name I have for her that she doesn't know about and is going to make me seem even weirder to her. Last night, I read one of her posts, and it haunted me all night long and into today. Because it was so well-written, it was so her writing style, and I could so relate to the pain she expressed as a mom about something that may seem like a minor thing to others. Her whole focus was on how she didn't want her daughter to be like her, in a very specific, particular way, and so I sorta dedicate this post to her and her Hummingbird, cause although my post is nowhere nearly as well written or as poignant as hers, it is a similar, shared fear.

"You take after your Mommy." Is this a good thing?
posted originally here on September 21, 2009
It can be heartbreaking when you realize your child takes after you...has inherited your worst traits, the ones you have to work every damn day to repress.

I think for the most part, people would describe me as bold, adventurous, a bit in-your-face. All of that is, in fact, true. But I've said it before: I'm really just a big chicken. I'm scared. A lot. Often. I get anxious about things. I worry. I fret. I over-analyze. When I want to try something new, I think about all the things that could go wrong.

And then I do it anyway.

See? There is the repression. It can be exhausting, spending so much of your time trying to go against your nature (or, possibly, nurture, since my parents spent most of my childhood trying to protect me from the world and most of my adult life trying to protect me from myself).

I don't want my child to grow up like this. I don't want him to have to live life, often, afraid or worried or anxious. I want him to be like his Dad: balls to the wall (as he'd say...sorry), no worries, just get out there and do it. All of it. Any of it.

But as Ben is growing up, I am realizing more and more that he is more and more like me. And I hate that. I hate that he thinks before he leaps (literally). I hate that he worries about being the slowest on his soccer team. I hate that he absolutely refused--the fear evident on his little face--to go down the slides at his own birthday party.

Over the last few days he has developed a new anxiety: peeing in his underwear. Mind you, this kid has been potty trained for a year or so. He has been sleeping through the night with no issues for months. Now, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he is obsessing over going to the bathroom...constantly. (Yes, we took him to the doctor.) We have tried both ends of the spectrum: from paying close attention and discussing it to all-out nonchalance and ignoring. But last night, after almost an hour of constant trips to the bathroom, we had to step in. We tried to explain he was "empty." We tried to be soothing. We tried to be intimidating. In the end, we had to give him an ultimatum ("choice" as we, parents, call it): either you go to bed now as is, or you go to bed with pull-ups on. He went to bed...after several minutes of a full-blown panic attack. To see his little face so out of control, so frightened by his own was heartbreaking...and remarkably familiar.

"He takes after you, Liz."

I hear it often.

He is stubborn, strong-willed, verbal, and a thinker. He loves the spotlight, likes to make people laugh, and can negotiate you into thinking it was your idea. He likes order, routine, and rules. And when he has an idea he likes, good luck trying to change it.

It can be hard to see yourself in your child. It's like yet another reminder, everyday, of how important it is to be brave. Bold. Free. Because now that I'm a mom, I don't just want that for myself. I want it for him, too.

1 comment:

  1. Liz, you are so kind to give me a shout out like that--I'm not deserving of it but thank you. And I think lots of people call me Kitch--it's just a lot easier to say, you know? I wouldn't ever think you are weird. You're one of the kindest souls out there.

    As you know, your words totally resonated with me. I was so relieved when my first-born was fierce and fearless, because that's nothing like me. But then Hummingbird came along and she's such a fragile, easily frightened thing. Just watching my own childhood re-play is agonizing. My only solace is that I understand what she is feeling. <3


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