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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My "easier" child vs. my "challenging" child

**The title of this post irks me just a tad because in no way do I feel cool comparing my babes, and feel even less cool about blanket-statementing either one of them as "easier" or "challenging." They're obviously both more relaxed or harder in separate sectors, but when Chad and I think of the two of them, we identify Carter as our good-natured, mellow dude with a great attitude and Dakota as our tornado, holy-cow, where-did-you-come-from child with will power to spare. Just two completely different personalities!

You know the phrase, "the squeaky wheel gets the most grease?" I saw that written once in my mom-to-mom Facebook group in regards to the stronger willed child in someone's family. She was asking for help on how to manage her "crazier" child alongside her mellow little one. I immediately identified with her - there have been several times where I've felt terrible about how much attention Dakota requires. I'm very thankful that it seems that Carter is perfectly content during times of "Kota mania," but still. Is he really content? Or is he just really good at having a content-looking face because he doesn't want to upset mommy or daddy? Just because Carter does not require full-on yell fests to try to convince him that "nap time is a great idea!," doesn't mean that all is well. I feel like he will internalize his feelings throughout his years, where Dakota will scream them out throughout her life.

I find that I think about Carter's well-being about 1,000 times more than I do Dakota's. I feel like even though in school Carter may be the one who will find focus easier to accomplish, will make friends very easily and doesn't seem to be phased by much, he will be the one I will need to monitor more closely. Say, for instance, he has a bad day. I couldn't see him coming home visibly upset, a situation which would obviously prompt me to prod him into telling mom what's going on. I could see him not wanting to talk about it because he might think that would send up a red flag or something, causing us to worry. I don't know, this is clearly just speculation - I could be completely wrong! But I just think he will internalize (I already know he does this), so I do need to check in on him very regularly.

I also don't want him slipping into a people-pleasing way of being due to the way we react to him and his chill ways. I think it's all good and well to be able to get along with several different personalities easily (something Carter is good at), but I know from witnessing family history that "people pleasing syndrome" is actually an individual's personal hell. It's incredibly hard to break out of and it's painful for everyone around them because you just want that person to know that IT'S OKAY TO BE YOU! WE LOVE YOU - THE REAL YOU! I never want Carter's relaxed personality to be mistaken by Chad and I as a boy / eventual teenager who has no problems or deep thoughts. The less a person is asked about deeper issues going on with them, the harder it is for that person to talk about those issues, sending that person into a forever compliant-as-can-be facade. It will eventually crack due to a build up and I just don't want that to happen. I want him to know that, "hey! We appreciate your awesome ways, but also want you to know that we're here to listen, so bring it on! We can handle it and we encourage your voice!" I don't want him to ever think that because we view him as easy going now, that that means he can never be anything other than that - like if he breaks away from being easy going then that means he's a disappointment.

Okay I have absolutely no idea if what I'm thinking in terms of people pleasing is coming across clearly. I guess this is a good way to say it: I don't want us projecting some "you're easy going" vibe onto him, which would subconsciously force him to stay easy going and never rock the boat, turning him into a people-pleaser which would ultimately result in a personal prison of torture because he would never feel like he could express himself.

Maybe I'm reaching too gosh darn far down into this! It's speculation, after all! Here's the thing, both kids are freakin' awesome, I just know that Dakota will let us know when something's going on in her life (because how could she not? Subtlety is not in her make up!), and Carter will take some investigating! There - that's the basis of what this post means!


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