My son and daughter look very similar. Yet personality wise, they are very different.
The oldest is my bold, confident, outgoing daughter born five weeks premature, yet was ready and raring to go on the outside, and with an unquenchable enthusiasm to engage with the world around her. Now six, she is simply more of what she was like as an infant. Her birthday parties are elaborate affairs with extensive guest lists.
My youngest was born two weeks past his due date after three days of labour. He too continues to be how he was when he was born. He likes to stay close and take his time to suss out and warm up to new situations. For his third birthday, when asked who he would like at his party, he said "just mama". Despite this he still has the determination of his sister, but in a more subtle and reserved way. He wants to take part in ice skating, dress-up drama and ballet lessons just as his big sister does. This was initially fine as "Parent & Me" classes, but once he turned three, these classes required children to attend by themselves.
This has resulted in me spending numerous hours sat on the floor at the edge of a dance studio with him on my lap watching tutu clad 3 year olds gallop and flump around like little heffalumps; I have taken part in dress-up drama classes where I have squeezed a preschool sized costume from the tickle-trunk on to whatever part of my body it fit over; I have sat on the step of an ice rink "skating" my running shoes back and forth next to his tiny little size 7 hockey skates, as we watched 3 year olds continuously falling whilst trying to take their penguin steps around the ice.
The key and what was important to me was that he was "taking part" exactly as he needed at that moment. His participation may not have looked like his sister's who always seems to leap straight in and usually performs ahead of the curve. It also didn't necessarily appear as "participation", but to me, he was participating fully in his own way, according to what he needed and that was enough.
I had no idea how long this socially unusual level of participation would go on for. With both children we usually include a developmentally appropriate conversation about money when they ask to join classes and programs, and he was always adamant that he wanted these classes. He was speaking his truth. In his own way he was totally committed. Several people offered their unsolicited opinions that I shouldn't waste money putting him in classes until he was ready to fully participate. To me however he was participating fully, just in his own way.
Then one day, around three and a half years old, he left my side. He didn't just leave my side: he went off with barely a goodbye hug and no looking back. He took part in a whole ballet class. He went on the ice practicing his penguin steps by himself, picking himself up when he fell over with quiet determination, and without a whimper. To top it off he asked to have one of lead roles in his drama class, and totally rocked it!
My "mummy's boy" had shifted, on his own terms, in his own time, when he was ready. By letting him take part in the activities he wanted to do, in the way he wanted to, I hope I have set the stage for him to honour his own rhythm and personal preferences. He didn’t have to change his personality to please anyone or be like anyone else. The nonverbal message I tried to give him was that who he is and how he was showing up was enough.
So what I am doing now with this extra free time whilst he is in his classes by himself? Well I am currently trying to work out how to host all 27 kids he has invited to his fourth birthday party. Lets hope I am enough to cope with that.
As well as being a mother to her two spirited children, Charlotte Watson is an EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Practitioner working via Skype with parents all over the world. Charlotte uses her empathetic and validating approach to help parents use their stress, overwhelm, triggers and struggles to guide where to support them in healing from the inside out using EFT. This allows them to parent with confidence and clarity as the best versions of themselves.
Her friends would tell you that is engaged without judgement, strong without aggression, and truthful without inflicting pain. She is compassionate with accountability, empathetic with professionalism, and she is very effective at moving people through change to their best selves.
When she is not working with her EFT clients, Charlotte can be found exploring the beautiful outdoors of her home in British Columbia, Canada. This includes the ski hills in the winter either skiing with her 2 children or working as a Ski Instructor specialising in teaching nervous women.
If you would like to know more about how Charlotte’s EFT Practice can support you to parent with confidence and clarity, please schedule a free 20 minute phone or Skype call www.charlotteeft20min.youcanbook.me