As a parent, worrying comes with the territory. Is my kid eating enough? Too much? Is my kid too dependent? Too independent? Is my kid too shy? Too aggressive? The list goes on and on.
I’m no stranger to worry. (In fact it’s more like my best friend.) Which is why this story will come as no surprise to those who know me.
I was talking to our pediatrician recently about some things Big was doing that I found…well, out of the ordinary. (I know, I know, there’s no such thing as an ordinary 4-year old.) We spoke in code as I shared my concerns and she nodded attentively. At the end of my description, she answered, “Well, that is a little O-D-D.”
Panic set in. I didn’t hear anything she said beyond that point. I knew it! There was something wrong. One of those scary acronyms. It wasn’t OCD, but it was close enough. Obsessive Dysfunctional Disorder? Obsessive Disturbed Disorder? I tried to look composed as my mind raced.
I couldn’t get home fast enough to start reading about my son’s new diagnosis and what it would mean for my little boy, his future and our family. I sat down to the computer, took a deep breath and typed the term into the search box.
When I saw it in lower case, I realized the only insane person in our family was me. Odd. The doctor was spelling ‘odd’. I can handle odd. Heck, I even kind of like odd.
There are so many pressures on us to be perfect parents (being a perfectionist may put me in the extreme category here, but still…). It seems like we’re constantly being measured—from playground chit-chat to school testing, and everywhere in between. As a result, the pressure trickles down to our kids to be the ideal siblings, friends, students, athletes, you name it. I know Big feels it already. And it shows—in o-d-d ways.
So I’m making a commitment to celebrate and embrace my kids’ o-d-d-ities—more than ever. I will try (oh so hard) to go easier on them (and myself). Of course I’ll continue to encourage them to do well and work hard in all walks of life. But they’re just kids. For now.
No doubt I’ll get a little anxious next time I hear the moms at preschool pick up talking about how their kid just perfected long division. But instead of joining in the comparisons, I’ll find my sweet boy’s smile across the room and know that he’s doing just fine.
Photo is courtesy of my friend (and talented photographer), Gay Jacobs.
Amy, your kid is incredible! They both are :)!
Thanks Jodie! I certainly agree. I mean, I spend my days adoring them (for the most part) and my late, late nights writing about them. I can’t get enough of their wonderful quirky personalities!
i don’t have kids (and i’m pretty sure a beagle doesn’t count as one), but speaking as a child of a mother who always expected her 3 daughters to reach her level of perfectionism (a goal not within anyone’s reach, i might add) and never embraced our “o-d-d-ities” , i think the fact that you’re NOT pressuring Big to be perfect, but that you see him as being the most perfect person he can be, makes you a wonderful, loving mother.
and keep in mind, those other moms who brag about how “perfect” their kid is, is never telling the full truth. as you said, they’re just kids. 😉
(p.s. thanks for using one of my photos! i feel cool). 🙂
First of all, you are cool. Second of all, thanks for sharing your personal experience. Of course I have room to improve as a mom…and I figure maybe the best way to get my 4-year old to ease up, is for me to ease up to. The last thing I want is for him to feel stressed about keeping up and burnt out before elementary school!
I love this story. We are all a little odd, or quirky, as I prefer to call it. Life is too short to be anything else!
It sure makes for great stories!
Here’s what I do (alongside the worrying and nudging and stressing…you KNOW my middle name is Worry, too).
I make sure to tell my girls this: You’re a great kid.
I say it when they are reading, eating dinner, walking with me. I don’t say it in response to anything they’ve done. I just say it spur of the moment so they know that even when they aren’t trying, they are remarkable, just as they are.
I also go into their room when they are sleeping and put my face right up to their sweet, sleepy one…as they exhale, I inhale. It makes me feel like they are part of my body, inside me for just a moment again. And it reminds me that while I wasn’t perfect that day, and they weren’t perfect that day, I made them from scratch and they are perfect to me.
I think you already know this, and you certainly don’t need any help, but it feels good to collaborate with other Moms — hence your brilliant blog.
Oh, and one more thing.
You’re a great kid.
You know I always love hearing from you and learning from you. You have the most wonderful sense of humor and sincere love of friends and family—which you showed beautifully in this comment. I love the idea of breathing your girls in each night…so sweet. I do the same thing, telling my boys out of the blue that I love them and am proud of the people that they are. I think it’s so important to show that unconditional love. Thanks for the great ideas and kind words. You’re a good kid, too, my friend!
That was funny. Haha.