Life With A Spirited Child-New Series!
This is the first post in a series of upcoming posts about Life With a Spirited Child. In this series, I plan to cover:
- the characteristics of a spirited child
- rethinking the labels we place on our children
- when spirited kids grow up
- spirited children and medical issues
- how your own temperament affects your interactions with your spirited child
- extrovert or introvert? (hint: a spirited child can be EITHER)
- tips on dealing with each of your spirited child’s characteristics
- trouble spots and the importance of planning ahead (bedtime, mealtime, getting dressed)
It was another flour-all-over-the-downstairs-when-I-turn-my-back-for-one-minute kind of morning. After the flour incident (you’d think we both would have learned our lesson LAST time that happened!) there was the running away and hiding Mommy’s hairbrush while Mommy is yelling “STOP! HALT! FREEZE! BRING IT BACK RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW!” (Do those words have any effect at your house? They don’t seem to work here.) Putting a plastic bottle cap in his mouth and breathing in deeply. Jumping on Daddy’s head to wake him up (poor, poor Picky Apple…I can’t imagine being woken up like that) and ripping the sheets off Daddy’s toes to hammer on them with a wooden hammer. The need for constant physical contact in the form of bumping, climbing, hitting, head butting (once again, while I was applying eyeliner). The nonstop talking talking talking. The screaming-as-though-being-tortured and limp noodle act making it impossible for me to brush his teeth. And there was also the spitting water all over the coffee table just to see what happens. And that was all before 8:30am.
I’ve got a spirited child.
Some days I handle it better than others.
Today was not one of those days.
Since his dramatic entrance into the world (a story I still haven’t shared here), The Littlest Apple has been marching to the beat of a different (faster, louder) drum. An entire drum line, perhaps. According to The Picky Apple it’s more like Animal from The Muppets.
That’s fairly accurate, I’d say.
Once I realized that The Littlest Apple had his own tune, I felt alone (and I still do occasionally). Being The Littlest Apple’s mother was SO different from the motherhood experience I envisioned. None of my friends kids acted like this. What was wrong with my kid? What was wrong with me? The answer: nothing. He’s just a spirited child. (And it turns out that I’m spirited too! More on that later!)
What does it mean to be a spirited child, anyway?
Well, the main word that defines the spirited child is MORE. Children that are MORE intense, persistent, sensitive, energetic and perceptive. As Mary Sheedy Kurcinka says in her book Raising Your Spirited Child (my most favorite go to resource for parents of spirited children!), “Spirited kids are the Super Ball in a room full of rubber balls. Other kids bounce three feet off the ground. Every bounce for a spirited child hits the ceiling.”
It’s not always that easy to “define” a spirited child, since each of them is unique. In my next post I’ll go in to more detail about the specific characteristics of a spirited child.
Anyone that has spent 5-10 minutes (sometimes less) with The Littlest Apple could easily label him as “spirited.” He’s got energy and enthusiasm and demands attention is such a way that is hard to ignore. (Many kids are spirited in a more introverted way…through their perceptiveness and sensitivities. Those are less obvious to the casual observer.)
Over the weekend, I took The Littlest Apple on a long walk in a stroller to a nearby park. It was a pleasant morning, and there were many people out walking and jogging. The Littlest Apple greeted each and every one of them. But he didn’t just say “hi” or give a little wave. No way. That’s not his style. You see, he was pretending to be a monkey. So he made LOUD monkey noises (or was it barking like a dog? There has been a lot of that lately, too. Either way, it was an animal!) and leaned out of the stroller toward the person and waved enthusiastically with both hands. Over and over and over. He must have done it about 20 times. Some people were charmed and said hi back. And quite a few didn’t know how to react to my NG-tube-wearing monkey boy and moved on as quickly as possible.
Life with a spirited child is never dull!
Being a parent of a spirited child can be awesome or awful, depending on the day. There are some really high highs when your spirited child amazes you with his memory, ability to understand other people’s emotions, creative imagination, attention to detail, and his deep and long lasting affection. But there will also be some dreadful lows when your child is screaming for 45 minutes because you cut his watermelon into bite size pieces instead of giving him a wedge. Or when you have to tell him for the 500th time to get down from the table. Or clean flour up off the floor (AGAIN) because you turned your back for one minute.
Is any of this sounding familiar? I sincerely hope that you’ll stick around to read this series, whether you’ve got a spirited child, were a spirited child yourself, or just want to read more funny anecdotes about MY spirited child. Stay tuned for my post next week on the characteristics of spirited children!
Do you have a spirited child? Were YOU a spirited child?