Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Caution: Easy-To-Parent Children

Yesterday was Paul's 14th birthday.We enjoyed a little family party and will do the full-meal-deal next weekend, with a van full of boys heading to a big skatepark--pics coming soon to a blog near you.    I am behind on my birthday posts--put that on the to-do list before the Mondo Adventure.

Paul is a joy.  He is our easiest child and always has been.  He is happy-go-lucky, laid back, and witty.  Paul is our social butterfly--he gets invited to more birthday parties than all our other kids combined (even other parents remark about it)!  Paul does well in school and enjoys multiple extra-curricular activities.

Happiness is a Taco Bell gift card
Not only is Paul easy to parent, he is quiet.  While most of his brothers and sisters like being center-stage, Paul is happy to meld into the perimeter of the family.  The other kids command attention.  Paul does not.  He's independent.  He doesn't mind getting his ice cream last.  He doesn't mind having to wait extra long for his turn (and won't necessarily remind us if we forget).  He doesn't become emotional if he feels there's an injustice in his life.  He's rarely the squeaky wheel demanding the grease. 

But here's the deal.  Here's my parenting tip of the day.  I believe an easy child is one who should be handled with care.  An easy child should come with a warning of CAUTION: THE BUNDLE ENCLOSED IS AN EASY CHILD.  HE WILL BRING YOU GREAT JOY, BUT HE HAS A VERY LOW VOLUME SO LISTEN CAREFULLY TO HIS WORDS AND ACTIONS.  FAILURE TO DO SO MAY RESULT IN UNEXPECTED OUTCOMES.

With Paul, I have to constantly remember to NOT let him be last, and I have to keep reining him in to the center of family life.  When we watch a movie, I have to consciously sit down next to him, because he won't clamor to sit by me--and yet he likes to.  When he complains about something or makes a request of me, I have to consider it megaphoned at the level of 10X.  I have to mentally dub his sub-titles, read his non-verbal communication, and KEEP REMINDING MYSELF to find ways to connect.  It have to remind myself over and over again. 

I have to mentally stick up for him, his wants and his needs, because if I don't, I worry that eventually he WILL get tired of being the easy one--the one who is easy to ignore.  And maybe we'll be so used to it we won't even notice. 

Because it's easy to let an easy kid become invisible.  Especially in a large family. 
Caution, easy child.  Handle with care. 

Oh, how I love this boy!!!

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