Your child is not you 2.0, Eleanor, this is what I try to remind myself all the time. My dad says, “ Be careful of putting your child in a jacket just because you felt the cold”. He is so right
The reason I am writing this is because I have found myself apologising for my son a lot lately and that’s not fair. Especially since the apology is often unsolicited and comes from my own childhood.
Growing up I was not always treated too well by other kids, . And one thing they kept asking was; “So do you think you’re special”. Even as an adult I’ve had this…people inferring I think I’m special. I’ve even had more than one girlfriend over the years say to me “You know you’re not special hey, we all have problems” , “It’s not all about you”.
It’s given me quite a complex. A complex which sees me going into hiding (or just blogging it out of my system) when things happen to me, instead of talking to people in my life – because “it’s not always about you Eleanor” , “We all have pain Eleanor” , “Do you think you’re special”.
Back to my son I find that I down play his achievements A LOT because I don’t want people to think he thinks he is special, or to think I think he is special.
And just because my own childhood bullies said things like: So you have long hair, do you think you special now? / So you speak English, do you think you special now? (grew up in Afrikaans community) / So you won an award at school, do you think you special now? / You have a twang when you speak, do you think you special now. (Yes I need to get over those things, and I mostly have – I don’t lose sleep about it, but nothing like a mini you starting school to remind you of school).
So because of that I find myself giving disclaimers when people say anything nice about Aidan. “He is so smart”, they say – “oh but he has terrible handwriting I say”. Oh, “he is so caring”, they say – “ja, but he isn’t very friendly”, I say. “He is really good at maths”, – “yes but sucks at puzzles.” “He is so attractive” – “some do say so, yes”.
WTF Eleanor. I even edit what I say about him on social media, I will share something profound he said and immediately regret it , immediately I hear the voices say…oooooh she thinks he is soooooooo special, I wonder if she makes these things up.
I tell whoever asks, that it probably only sounds impressive because of how I stated it, because I’m a writer so I’m good with words, but maybe when he said it IRL it was less profound – truth is, often it’s more profound and I edit in more child appropriate/more believable phrases.
He legit called a pear a misshapen apple and I thought it was hilarious, but thought I should share it as “different shaped” because who is going to believe a 6-year-old says misshapen.
I was invited to join a parents of gifted children group and I hesitated A LOT because, he isn’t that special man, we don’t think we are that special. He is just Aidan and what if the group tagged me on FB and other people would see and be like, “omw she thinks their sooooooo special.”
But you know what. Aidan is not me, and he is kind of special (all kids are) and it’s not fair of me to dim my child’s light like this, just because I fear it might shine too bright for someone else — so from here on out I need to remember he is not my 2.0, and he is pretty special.