Well, it’s just that I prefer slow and calm and quiet and solitude. Give me a bath with candles, a mid-sized plate of Oreos and that is my happiness.
Jack on the other hand has a fondness for noise, destruction and my company but only if I’m willing to partake in the noise and destruction. If I’m not, there is fire, fiery tears of disappointment.
We’re different, Jack and I.
He wants to build towers and then knock, well more like punch, them over. I want to cuddle up on the couch with a blanket and be still.
He wants adventure
I want to knit
We both want Oreos
He wins, both the battle and the Oreos.
If he was the apple that fell from my tree, he fell and then rolled a half mile away.
Being an introverted parent with an extroverted child has taught me more about patience than any relational or marital situation has thrown my way. (It has also taught me about exhaustion and the benefits of NyQuil.)
With Jack there is incessant chatting and running and jumping and climbing and
‘no you can’t use the lamp as a club’. He disagrees.
The NyQuil please.
…but he has this wonder about things, things I’ve come to understand too fully to have wonder about. Is it repetition? I wake up. Toast the waffles. Brew the coffee. Wipe the fingers. Wake up, waffles, coffee, fingers. Nothing to wonder at.
Jack still has it. His mind isn’t on the next task. It’s present and it’s focussed and it’s so open.
‘Stay gold Pony Boy.’ I always hated that book.
Jack needs to stop and inspect every leaf to see if it has a different crunch. If it does, he throws his hands up in the air and gasps, eyes wide. He has to touch the side-walk chalk, run over it once, twice, a third for good measure. If we pass a truck and the wheels are eye level, he has to inspect his reflection in the rims, up close, further away, mouth open, mouth closed.
On Sunday nights we stay at our friends’ place late and he sleeps there until we’re ready to leave. There hasn’t been a single night in months that he hasn’t pointed at the moon on our way out to the car and said ‘ooowow’
Why don’t I see the moon and think that?
Oh moon, just you again, lighting the world, controlling the tides, makin sure we don’t die. Meh.
Perhaps it’s just the rushing. I don’t give myself time to feel wonder. I have no interest. It seems indulgent and if I’m going to indulge, I’ll take a fair-sized Donut thanks. I do like living through this stage with him however. I love seeing him fall in love with the world. When he falls in love with these new things in his world, it sparks my infatuation with them again. His ability to marvel at leaves and shiny wheels is admirable.
My intentions are well and good when it comes to exploring and taking part in his curiosities but then there’s just things to do.
The waking, the waffles, the coffee and the wiping. It’s not that I don’t realize there are times when rushing is necessary, it’s just that we’ve grown accustomed to rushing through everything. Through chores, through leisure. Through dinners in and dinners out, through walks through the grocery store and walks through the park.
I’m that unpleasant person who can’t sit and enjoy things. I want to move on. I want dinner on my plate, in my mouth, prompt, accomplished. No time for chatting or enjoying each other. Just food in mouth, plate in sink and move on. Restless.
I used to cut apples neatly into Jack sized slices so he could eat them more efficiently. He won’t have it. He must bite the apple. He must inspect the skin. He must have us acknowledge the specks of dirt. If I cut the apples for convenience, they end up on the floor.
He’ll grow out of this sort of wonder, I know, but maybe if I can stop the rushing he won’t adopt it as a place holder. Maybe he’ll just find new things to wonder at. Maybe he’ll fall in love with new things again and again because he has the time.
But Oh, how I want to rush him. To move past the apple inspection and wash his sticky hands. To stick him in a new task, hurry him along when I’m ready to clean up the mess so that I can see a clean floor, then off to bed, so I can have my peace and calm and solitude. Let’s not forget the Oreos.
…and then there are those rare moments when he sits on the couch cuddling in my lap and ‘counts’ the freckles on my arms and I think ‘please don’t rush this’.