Monday, February 11, 2013

The daredevil and the introvert

If you know anything about Andy, you know that he tends to live more dangerously than I.  Not that he’s into skydiving or extreme sports, he just lives life at a much faster and louder pace than I do.  When we first started dating (9 years ago…) it wasn’t uncommon to see him leap over a parking meter or flip over the side of a railing.  It was just what he did.  He’s not quite like that anymore (the whole growing up, getting a job, having a kid thing slows some of that down), but he’s still more of a daredevil at heart.

If you know anything about me, you know that I am an introvert who sometimes pretends to be an extrovert.  Social situations wear me out.  I love them.  But I need to recuperate for a day after them.  I’m awkward, and I get clammy and nervous and convince myself that people are only nice to me because they feel sorry for me, or they just want to be polite.  I can talk a mile a minute and make you think I am completely self-possessed.  I can even keep up with Andy in a conversation…we can be a pretty witty pair when the time is right.  But it takes a lot of out of me.  I’d just as much like to be curled on the couch, or hiding in bed…or just plain alone.  Like to the point that last week I asked if for my birthday next year, I can go to a hotel and just be alone for a day/night (I was a little high on the drama last week…I also told Andy I wanted a YMCA membership not really to work out, but more for the free childcare while I took a shower).

That brings us to Liam.  This delightful creature who is half Andy and half me.  I have often said he is so much more Andy than me.  He operates at Andy volume.  He operates at Andy speed.  He thinks it’s hilarious to leap off the couch and land on his face, or to tip over in a box and bonk his head on hardwood.  He likes to climb tall things and move at fast paces.  The more dangerous and exciting, the better for Liam.  I don’t understand it.  But in the past few weeks, there have been a few instances where I realize he’s a lot me too.  Sometimes, after a particularly intense play session, he’ll go off in a corner and read a book by himself.  Or put together and take apart his Duplos for 20 minutes at a time.  This weekend, he was in high gear while playing with friends (the three daughters of our friends…ranging from 5 to just 2 weeks older than Liam), but after we had been at their house for a few hours, I watched Liam leave the group.  He played hard.  He pretended to be an extrovert.  But it wore him out.  And he wanted to be alone.  I watched my sweet boy step back from the group, and go to the playroom and play by himself for a while.  I asked him if he wanted to read with the girls, but he was content to be in the quiet for a few.  So I stepped back and let him.  Because I get it.  Sometimes it’s best to be quiet with yourself for a little bit.  I want to be sure to watch my sweet boy, to recognize these things in him.  To see that sometimes when he’s throwing a tantrum, it might just be because he needs to be alone for a few minutes.  I do it.  I did it three times last week.  And in our future home, I want to give him a space that can be his hideaway.  Because I was the girl who read books on the floor of my closet snuggled in with pillows, a sleeping bag, and stuffed animals.  And that boy does seem to be 50% me.

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