Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On being Ferdinand's mother

Ferdinand the bull, that is. She's a pretty cool mom, as fictional cows go. She sees that Ferdinand would rather sit by himself under the cork tree and sniff flowers than run around with the other bulls.

His mother saw that he was
not lonesome, and because
she was an understanding 
mother, even though she was 
a cow, she let him just sit 
there and be happy.

That was both a wise and a brave choice. She knew her son wasn't acting like the other bulls, and wasn't fitting in, but she decided not to care and not to push him, because he was happy. 
I try to remember that a lot, when I'm dealing with kiddo. 
When to push him? When not to push him? Is he social enough? Not social enough? Is he listening in class? Is he OK on the bus? Is he learning how to take care of himself? Is he happy?
Sometimes I worry even when he does seem happy. When he's building Legos, for instance.
He's utterly obsessed with Legos. He builds these fantastical things. He's got a how-to book by a Lego artist (yes, there are such things) named Sean Kenney, and he's decided that he's going to have Sean Kenney's job when he grows up (though he, adorably, insists on pronouncing the name "Seen" no matter how many times I correct him). Every chance he gets, he's at the Lego table, itty bitty pieces strewn across the floor, building. He's good.
I'm happy to let him do that as long as he wants. Except when he has to get ready for school. And when he needs to set the table for dinner. And when it's bath time. And bedtime. 
Transitions have always been tough for him. He fights it every time. I've had to talk him into leaving the Legos. Occasionally I've had to take Legos away. It's not an enjoyable scene. But it needs to be done. 
And when it doesn't need to be done?
Kiddette wanted to play in the snow yesterday. Kiddo didn't. He wanted to build Legos. We pointed out it would get dark soon and he'd lose his chance. We said he wouldn't get hot chocolate unless he went outside first. He didn't budge. 
I debated. Ferdinand's mother would leave him alone. I almost did the same thing. And then I thought, he really needs to get some exercise today. And I caved. "Go outside," I told him. 
I'm still not sure it was the right call, though he did have fun once he got out there (and had his hot chocolate afterward). I want him to do what makes him happy. But I want him to be part of the world, too, or at least to remember there is a world once in a while. It's a tough balance. 
He'll probably want to build Legos tonight. I'll probably let him. If his homework's done. 

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