Wednesday, May 20, 2015
“Smirker never wants to hug me,” Love Monster said.
I was playing catch with Love Monster and Smirker in front of our home.
Love Monster is very huggy. She is so super cuddly and I love it. And what she said reminded me of something.
“You know what’s funny? It was opposite when you were babies. When Smirker was a baby, all she wanted was to be held. And you, you were moving so much, so busy, you didn’t want to be held at all.”
Love Monster dropped the ball she was holding. She looked at me. Her face was stricken. She ran inside crying. I triggered something.
And I knew what this moment was. I’d been dreading it.
I found her inside. We sat on her bed and I let her cry into my chest for a while.
“I don’t want to be different, mama,” she said.
“Oh babe,” I said.
She cried a little longer before saying, “You know my friend at school? Her friend tells her not to play with me, because I make her do stuff.”
LM does get bossy. She has about 5 million ideas for things to do and gets excited about sharing them. And the way she expresses it can be overwhelming and in your face, all part of the ADHD. Not that that’s an excuse. It’s something we work on a lot. Be open to other people’s ideas. It’s okay if things don’t go according to plan.
For example, days like mother’s day are her favorite kind of days. These days are also worrisome, because if things do not go according to her plan she falls apart. She stayed up late the night before writing out a schedule of things we would do, coming out from her room periodically asking what my favorite things I liked to do were. In the morning we went down the list. In the living room she had stations set up around the room labeled with sticky notes: The art station where I was told to pursue her art binder for a few minutes. The card station where we played a skylanders game. The lego show where she had the lego elves do a little play for me. A writing station where she had me fill out a Venn diagram, Love Monster on one side, Mama on the other, and Us in the middle. We each wrote two words describing what we love about each other and wrote a poem using those words. There was a reading station, a coloring station (coloring page made by LM). What a day. Don’t you love how that brain works? I love how that brain works. And sometimes she is proud, but then there are other times where she feels different.
And I know this is very normal. For most kids. There is a desperation to be like everyone else. Accepted. The same is safe. The same feels right. I think it’s a human thing. We all feel different at some point and want to feel the same, when in the end, the differences are what’s amazing right?
“I don’t want to be different, Mama.”
Children don’t reward being different. I remember that. Boy do I remember that. And I want to take that pain away from her. After she had gone to bed, I cried on the couch. How do I explain to her that being different is good? It doesn’t matter what other kids say. Love what you love. Do what you do. Is this one of those things she has to learn by herself? Would I have believed my mom if she told me? No I would have thought she didn’t understand.
Love Monster is so great. So great. The differences are wonderful. They are. Please believe me, Love Monster. We all want to be accepted for who we are, but that doesn’t mean we need to be the same.
That night I whispered in her ears as she slept, “You are perfect. Different is good. Different is amazing.”
I let that seep into her ears, hoping my words turned into beliefs. Kids might, for the most part, not love "different." But I can encourage her. Talk to her. Reward the different. By being myself too. And maybe one day I will hear, “I’m proud I’m different Mama.”