Friday, January 13, 2012

Please let cooking classes mentally occupy this child until he can climb Mt. Everest

I don't go into Parent Panic very often.  I mean, I have my insecurities and worries about my kids, definitely. I think that comes pre-packaged in the placenta.  And we go through phases where I'm at such a loss than I'm about to call in professional help (SuperNanny?  I don't know, it never gets that specific), usually right before that phase goes away.

But lately, I'm feeling very emotionally overwhelmed with how to raise Andrew, in a way I'm not used to feeling.  He requires so.much.  And it's really hard to explain to someone else what that is. It's more subtle than some kids, and I feel ungrateful feeling like he's a struggle to parent. There is so much about him that is truly joyful to parent.  I adore his intensity, I do. Which is funny, because it's actually the intensity in him that's most problematic. 

Clear as mud.  I know.

Here's the thing.  I am raising a fiery, passionate child.  A heart of gold.  It's not that he's got a temper or hurts people or things I'd think would stem from passion.  

Mainly, it's that he's got this passionate heart, but hasn't grown into being able to use it.  So all that passion is just running-in-place, because he can't send it anywhere. 

You ask him what he'd like to do, and it's triathlons (like dad), and being a doctor for poor people in Africa.  He also wants to climb mountains.

I believe him.

So I have a barely 5-year-old child who wants to save the world and push the outer limits of his physicality, but I'm asking him to live this very vanilla existence at home. No one to save.  No mountains to climb. 

He's bored.  Really.  All the jumping off couches and dangling from...well, anything that can be dangled from...is just the way of exciting his passionate brain.  He loves-loves-loves movies and action television. Again: Exciting his passionate brain.  If I want to really occupy him, I put him on Steve's stationary-bike and have him watch an action show at the same time. He needs that much stimulation.

He's this older-soul stuffed into a tiny body.  I think that's really frustrating for him.  Not "I think."  I know.  He's wants to do SO MANY THINGS...and really, he's not old enough for anything he wants to do.  Rock climbing, fencing lessons, etc...all these things he specifically requests, we look them up and he's not old enough.  

What I need to remind myself is that all of my current "struggles" with Andrew - a passionate child with nowhere to direct his passion - is an ephemeral state. He will age out of it.  He will start being old enough to do the things his mind can imagine. 

My parenting dilemma right now is how to help him find passions (or even just interests) that can keep him occupied while his little body catches up.

I look at him and see sailing camp...kayaking...yes, climbing mountains.  And then blink again and realize he just turned 5.  And the things that could really satisfy his spirit aren't really appropriate for him.  

When I ask him what he loves doing most, he says: "Eating, watching sword movies, and snuggling with you." :)  OMG. There is so much to love about this child.  

At the top of my To-Do list this week: Find him cooking classes and swim lessons.  Something to fill his brain (and his stomach), but also, move his body and make him think he's training for a triathlon.

And... just remind myself that it's going to be okay.  Frenetic-boredom aside, he's going to be okay.  I will make sure of it.