My kids are shy. Sometimes painfully so. I don’t know if the pain is theirs or mine. Probably more of the latter.
But Mommy, I can’t talk to that lady!
I don’t want to say hi!
I don’t talk to anyone in art class because then I can’t concentrate.
I just want to play alone for awhile.
When we are out and about these kids of mine are likely to be right by my side. Or on my hip. Or holding on to something…a hand, a leg, my shirt. If someone new approaches they often avoid eye contact or bury their head into whatever part of me they’re holding onto. I sigh. I try to smile and act like this is normal behavior. I try not to say much because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say, and sometimes I say too much. Explaining what needs no explanation. I’m learning. I suppose I’ll always be learning how to act and what to say when my kids aren’t doing what I wish they’d be doing.
In response to my bemoaning, my mom has told me she remembers my preschool teacher telling her I was an observer. I always joined in eventually, but on my time, when I was good and ready and comfortable.
My husband is a quiet guy. I think Susan Cain must have known him in another lifetime. Her latest book was all about him.
We’re observers and quiet and need time alone. That’s okay. Why do I expect differently from my kids? I shouldn’t. I get annoyed or embarrassed or tired of all the clinging. But I shouldn’t. Deep down, I know they’re okay. They’re normal. They won’t always hide behind their mommy’s leg when meeting someone new.
Now we’re homeschooling. Officially. As in I say it out loud and we already missed the school sign ups for next year.
Now we’re homeschooling and my kids are shy.
No wonder that’s how they act. They’re homeschooled.
If they went to school they wouldn’t be so (shy, quiet, fill in the blank).
Doesn’t she want her kids to be normal? And socialized?
Just writing down these worries of mine, these imaginary thoughts of my imaginary friends, makes it sound so silly. It’s nonsense, really.
These kids of mine are shy, quiet, reserved. They’re observers, listeners, slow to warm up. They are so much more than that, too. They’re awesome, really. They’re who they are not because they go to school or don’t go to school. It’s simply who they are. I have doubts. Homeschooling doubts. Parenting doubts. I suppose I always will. But I get to be by their side, experiencing and witnessing it all. Like the other day at the playground when I heard:
This is my brother, do you want to play with us?
I’ll race you down the monkey bars!
How old are you? I’m 5.
Do you know I’m a dancer and an artist?
They were laughing, playing, talking, being silly. Kids at a playground. I bet no one could tell they were homeschoolers that day. I bet no one can tell on the other days either. Maybe just my imaginary friends. I think I need some new voices in my head.