Saturday, June 01, 2013



My Nico has always been a bit of a cautious child, resistant to change. He gets a lot of it from me, I'm sure, and I've always tried to be patient with him because I remember how upsetting it can be to be asked to deviate from routine. And when he does try something new or step outside his comfort zone, it's all the sweeter for knowing it was hard but he did it anyway. I suspect other parents probably think I'm crazy or a coddler if they notice things like me praising Nico for trying out a toddler slide so small that his feet nearly touched the ground from the top, but maybe not. Maybe they see the pride in his face at these moments and realize that some of these small things are a big deal.

Nico has had two different pairs of little girl buddies for over a year now. We get together about once a month for a playdate, and the girls have been playing together for at least most of the year. Nico usually plays beside the girls, or across the room from the girls, but only very recently has started to play with the girls. I always worry a little bit about him as a somewhat cautious only child who doesn't go to daycare, so seeing him actually play with other kids is very encouraging. We had several friends with kids at our Memorial Day cookout and toward the end of the evening, three of the girl buddies were playing a game with our little wading pool. They'd run to the pool, jump into it, sit quietly for about 30 seconds, then leap out and run away. At some point I noticed Nico nearby, watching them intently. Then he very carefully removed his crocs and peeled off his socks. After that he had to work up the nerve to walk across the grass barefoot. Once he made it poolside, the girls tried and tried to convince him to get in, but he wasn't sure. Finally, finally, he stepped into the water.

When I was pregnant with Elliott, we gently tried suggesting to Nico that he'd be a big boy now, a big brother. He emphatically informed us he didn't want to be a big boy. One day he shouted "I don't want to be a big brother! No!" When I asked him why not, he said, "I'm not big! I'm little!" So we let him be the little boy and told him the baby was the baby boy. When he resisted potty training and wearing big boy underpants, we tried really hard to be patient. Then he went to preschool and he slowly blossomed. He gained confidence and started playing with other kids. He tried new things. He went back to Grandma's last week and is now wearing underpants at least part of every day. He insists upon bringing me the baby's bottle when he needs to eat and working the finger puppet in the baby's bedtime story book. And the other day when I absentmindedly told him, "Come on, baby," he told me, "I'm not a baby. I'm a big boy." I won't tell him he's still kind of my baby, because he is a big boy. He is, and I'm so proud.

Reading:  Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Playing:  Babel by Mumford & Sons

1 comment:

  1. Being gentle and kind with him while he navigates the next couple of years is so awesome. I love that you aren't pushing, just following his lead and letting him call himself big or little or whatever.

    My older kid is still cautious and has his preferences about what games are fun (water on the head: not fun, still) but is confident in his choices and I love seeing that.

    Yay kids!