I am an introverted mother parenting the most extroverted child.
There are times when I feel like I am completely out of my league on this. To say I get "overwhelmed" would be like saying I only roll my eyes on occasion during football season on Facebook... With those statements we're getting out of understatement territory and into outright, bold-faced lying.
Anyone who really knows me knows that I love my son immensely, and most of my world is him. But, until I became a mother I didn't know that a person could actually physically talk this much without passing out from lack of oxygen. His mouth never stops. On the toilet, in the shower, in his sleep, while he's watching television, playing a game, and while he does his schoolwork....it never, ever ends. He has never figured out that some things can be thought without being said aloud, and sometimes I'm pretty sure he'll never figure it out. This is simply who he is.
To add to that, he hates being in his bedroom or anywhere that doesn't involve being around another person. At times, a pet will substitute, but there always HAS to be someone in the room or with him to listen to his nonstop chatter. I bought a desk for him to do his schoolwork (we homeschool) and every single day I have to remind him that schoolwork should be done at his desk. He will bring his workbook into the kitchen where I'm washing dishes and even though he's too short to do so comfortably, he will damn sure try to complete the work on the counter. Out loud. Even as I start wiping the counter off that he's working on... After his work is done and has been graded and I have requested some "adult time" to peacefully write letters or work on my own school work while he does his own thing, he would literally rather sit in the living room on the laptop wearing headphones and turn a chair around to face the wall (if I decide to watch something he can't) than deal with being in his bedroom alone. This was actually worse when he was in public school. You'd think that being around children all day would give him his social fix, but he was forced to be quiet and sit still most of the day with no exceptions which honestly wreaked havoc on his brain. It was the ultimate torture. Every single day is spent with him essentially all up in my personal bubble filling it with all the words.
Here's where a lot of people might think that I should have thought about all this before I had a child, but see, that's the thing. You can't predict personality. All children aren't the same, and at 25, when I had him, I didn't really understand the depths of my own introversion either. It's not shyness. It's not a thing I can get over. It's part of WHO I am. Being social and being around others especially in crowds is exhausting to me. It's not that I never want to socialize--I do enjoy it. On my own terms. But, when I do, it wipes me out even if I only visit with a couple friends for a few hours. I prefer my own company most of the time. I loathe small talk and can be kind of intense when I really get into the depths of my conversations. I have a constant inner dialogue, avoid interaction with strangers when possible as much as possible, and I really start to get stressed when I've been active or overstimulated for too long without down time. And that's the key thing right there...It is physically and mentally painful for me to be too overstimulated. I reach a point where enough is more than enough.
My kiddo on the other hand GAINS all his energy from being active and from socializing...and, man, does his energy fucking build just by being in the same room as me. I have come to terms with the fact that just being within inches of my body means he actually absorbs all my energy through osmosis like some sort of life-essence sponge. He can talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere, about anything. He thinks aloud, plans aloud, dissects problems out loud. That's the way he works best. His ideas aren't even fully formed yet, and they're already spilling from his mouth in a sort of word salad...and often it's like the kind of salad a drunk college kid would make when he comes home from a night of binge drinking and throws together whatever he can find in his dorm--cheerios, vienna sausages, powdered donuts, and spaghetti-o's. Oh, and some ramen for texture. That's how his ideas form though... He's not talking to me so much as at me...that's something I had to learn. He surely talks TO me way beyond my comfort zone, but there are just as many times that the conversation is taking place all within the air between us with him having no desire for a response.
The fact that I don't really have to talk back half the time doesn't mean that the constant drone and chatter doesn't wear me down eventually. By the time I sit down to write or work on a class assignment, I'm actually begging for peace and quiet. No exaggeration. He doesn't understand that I could actually want to be alone. With myself. In my own world. His brain doesn't work that way and he can't possibly comprehend why I don't work the way he does.
It's a constant struggle. I reach my limits, ask for peace, he tries to be quiet, reaches his, and we're back to square 1. I don't know the quick fix right now... I don't know how to make it work better than it is. We're working on it, and we'll figure it out eventually. But, I think the important thing is to highlight that struggle because I'd be willing to bet that someone reading this knows someone who goes through the same thing who is constantly being told her (or his) child will grow out of it or that it will get better or that she should have thought about all that before having kids...basically, she's not getting to vent, she's getting no support, and her very real issues are being largely ignored by people who very likely treat her like she has a disorder instead of understanding that it's just part of WHO she is... So to you, dear readers, don't be that dickhead who doesn't try to understand. Capeesh?
This has been another Sunday Confession with More than Cheese and Beer. Please, please, please go check out the other contributions on the MTCAB page and the anonymous confessions on the Facebook page. Also, check out the Halloween Giveaway (pee-wee scream) that I'm taking part in with this blog and several others. Details here, on Facebook, and on the MTCAB page :)
I just realized I'm your son.... to everyone I know, including you. I'm going to print this, mail this and share with everyone who knows me.ReplyDelete
I didn't know one of your super powers is life essence sponge!!Delete
This is brilliant, word salad I can just imagine that description you gave. And I'm raising sons like yours. One avoids and one seeks and I'm somewhere in the middle. I love to talk and my hubby God bless him, listens for as long as he can. Now my kids they will talk ALL day LONG. At the end of the day I'm exhausted just from demanding quiet time. ��ReplyDelete