29 August 2006

first place?

my boy is only 2 years old and there are certain things i'm just not ready to see him learn.

we spent a week at the family summer cottage with my sister and her family. she has 2 kids. her oldest (boy) is 5 and her other is 3 (girl). i adore them both. they are fun and funny and really smart, sweet people.

in spending some time with them it was startling to me to see how interested in being right, first, best they were. the competition thing is alive for them. maybe it brought back memories of my own childhood, but it made me really sad to see how hard they worked to be right, best, first. to one-up each other. the youngest is only 3! granted she is precocius. she started doing everything (sit, walk, talk) way before most kids her age, but still. i know it happens eventually and for some kids it's earlier than others. for my sisters' little girl, it happened at an early age probably because she has an older sibling.

but, i felt like i wanted to shelter my son from learning that behavior. right now he really has no sense of first or best. and therefore he doesn't know how to make any one else feel badly and i don't want him be in a position of feeling badly if someone makes him feel less then them or second to them or (please let me never hear this coming from his mouth) a loser.

am i just an overly worried mom who can't come to terms with the fact that it's a big, bad world out there and soon enough he'll find that out? or can there be some way of keeping that knowledge from him for as long as possible without making him a recluse?

i want to teach him HOW to deal with those situations, so that he can rise to new challenges and have tools to navigate them. and at the same time i want so badly to protect him. i'm not sure how to make the two desires co-exist.

part of what i am learning about myself as a mom is that i'm in no hurry. when he turned 1 people assumed i'd be stuffing cake and ice cream down his throat. nutrition is really important to me, so, no, i didn't. i feel that he has his whole life to eat sweets. no need to start that so young. when were on vacation with my sister we felt like maybe we should have taken him to the baseball game that the others went to. it was at night, he'd have missed bedtime and been cranky as all get out, so no. not worth it. and he'll have years of going to baseball games. what about the water slide park? same deal. television and movies? there's time. my niece was watching E.T. and don't judge my sister for letting her watch it, but with bb i'm in no hurry. when it's time for all of these things, i'll know. and he doesn't know what he's missing. and i'm glad. i don't want him to know how it feels to be "last." i don't want him to melt down at the ball park because he's tired. how's that fair to him? and i don't want him to see E.T. in the plastic bubble and elliot freaking out. it's too scary. there's time.

isn't there?

or am i an overprotective freak?


Tracey said...

Bopping over from.... I can't remember. I'm blog hopping!

Anyway. He's adorable! And it isn't crazy to try and protect him, but the bad stuff will catch up with you sooner or later, so it's a good idea to be prepared. My kids can definitely get toooo competitive with each other. I think it's a sibling thing, honestly. (Who does Mommy love best? You're older, so I have to catch up... etc.)

beth said...

There is totally time. Sounds like those kids have sort of a sibling rivalry thing going on - the 3 year old is just following the older brother, and who knows where he learned it. When the time comes you'll be able to teach bb how to handle problems like that, and because he was raised with a different set of priorities those things won't be a big deal for him.

I'm totally the same way with Sam when it comes to doing things in evenings or during naptimes or anything that will really mess with him. It's hard because I get a lot of pressure (from in-laws mainly) but I just feel like it is totally unfair to him and those things will just have to wait.

itybtyfrog said...

My 5 year old has just started acting like that too. It gets really bad when the other 5 year old I babysit and my daughter start fighting over who is first for everything from who gets to walk in the front to who gets their sandwich first at lunch. It is driving me absolutely nuts!

Nikkie said...

Stick to your guns, don't let anyone pressure you into giving him things that can wait. You are right, he has the whole rest of his life to enjoy chocolate and other treats.

April said...

My feeling (and I believe I'm in the minority) is that children will turn into who they are supposed to turn into. No matter what we do...

I know I had every reason to turn into some kind of addict or worse based on my childhood and how I was "raised."

I've had my issues, but I also can see how the effect (the end result of "me," at least so far) was not a product of a specific cause.

I love Wayne Liquorman's (Advaitic) take on this - "I believe in cause and effect, I'm just not sure which comes first."

I can see in with son that I play the role of mama and he plays the role of baby, but there is something MUCH bigger at play... Something much deeper playing these roles called "us."

katie said...

Jack has an older cousin who I feeel the same way about. People tell me that it is normal behaviour and something to expect, but I want to be able to help Jack learn that everything doesn't ahve to be a competition. hard stuff, I suppose only time will tell!

Nicole said...

Oh, I hope there's time. I really hope so. I think you're exactly right. I worry about all the same things too.

PS-Thank you for your comments on my blog, they were very thoughtful.