Oh No! My Son Is Just Like Me….

Today Elias and I went to the Play Boutique for the monthly meeting for the North Beaverton MOMS club. I joined about a month ago, and I’ve been meeting some other moms in the area. Play Boutique let the club meet there for free today so we got to try it out. The place was super clean, and they’ve got a lot of really fun looking stuff for the kids to play on/with. I wasn’t sure if Elias would want to play in there by himself, though. There were quite a few rowdy three, four, and five year olds, and he is still a bit young to play on big play structures by himself. No matter how big I think he is getting, Elias is still puny compared to the preschool aged kids.

Elias surprised me by actually playing fine by himself for about five or ten minutes. I got to sit in on part of the meeting. But then he decided to climb to the top of the play structure…and he got stuck at the top of the slide and started crying. I went in and got him down, but he was too nervous after that so he came to the rest of the meeting with me.

After the meeting, we still had about 30 minutes of play time left, but Elias refused to try anything. Even with me standing right next to him he would not play on or with any of the toys or with any of the other kids. He mostly just desperately clung to my legs or tried to climb on my lap. I was starting to get frustrated because a few of the other little kids were even trying to interact with him or hand toys to him, and he just clung to me even harder. I tried to force him to “have fun,” but it only made him more upset.

So I took a step back and asked myself why his behavior was making me upset. Why did I care so much if he played in there or not? Someday when he’s a teen he’ll probably want very little to do with me, and be happy to go off with his friends and play. I asked myself some questions. Why can’t I just enjoy the hugs and closeness he gives me now? Why can’t I listen to what he is saying with his body and his voice and just let him play near me where he is comfortable? Why am I ruining our fun outing by being upset?

Then it occurred to me….It’s because his behavior reminded me of myself. I, who was painfully shy growing up, am realizing that I have a shy son. He is nervous around strangers and around other kids. I know that is somewhat normal at this age, but compared to other kids his age, he is still more “shy” than them. It’s not a bad thing. But it does remind me of myself. Being shy caused so much stress for me when I was younger. Being shy made me miss out on some cool opportunities. I don’t Elias to have to go through all of that.

But Elias is who he is. As his mom, I have to realize where he is at, accept it, love him, and help him the best I can. If that means letting him sit on my lap, then so be it. If that means waiting a few months to go back and try Play Boutique, so be it. I love my son. My expectations for how he should act, and what he should want were different from his reality. Now I am trying to fix that.

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