Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Child, My Self?

Needy, clingy, attention-whore, leaky-holed love bucket...

These are not words I would use to describe myself, but I would very readily attribute them to Judah.

I could spend (and have spent) 2-3 hours of pure, unadulterated, one-on-one time with him and it's still not enough.  As soon as I break off and do something else or pay attention to Noah, Judah melts down and whines "You never play with me Mommy!  You never love me!  I'm soooooo saadddd"

He's been like this all his short life.  Yep, even as a baby he would make darn sure you know he HAS to be the center of attention or there were consequences.  Very unpleasant scream-filled consequences.  So it's definitely not a "phase."  It's just Judah.


But I had a jarring realization these past few weeks.  Now that Judah can express himself pretty articulately, I'm shocked that he sounds!  Except that I've never said these words out loud.  I'm a pretty quiet, passive person (Judah's loud verbosity is definitely not from me), but every thing he says I've thought.  A lot.  Especially as a child.

It brought back flashes of memory that I hitherto had completely forgotten about.  How much I craved attention.  How much I craved praise.  How much I wanted everyone in the room to look at me.  Look at me!  Look at me!  Tell me I'm special!

Once in preschool I remember learning about bloody noses.  A classmate got one and all of sudden there was a flurry of excitement surrounding her like some warm angelic penumbra of love and care.  Oh how I wanted that too.  So...of course I punched myself in the nose repeatedly to try to make it bleed.

Turns out that just gives you a sore nose without a single drop of blood.

Realizing that Judah gets his attention-neediness from me has made me so much more compassionate toward him.  My poor kid.  Inherited some tough traits.

And it's given me so much more compassion for the Spouse.  So often we have recurring arguments wherein I accuse him of not spending enough time with me and he is completely baffled how I could come up with that conclusion.  He's always insisted I was a leaky love bucket and now I know exactly what it feels like to be on the other end of that bucket.

Filling it, filling it, and filling it again.  Only to turn around 3 seconds later to find that it's completely empty!

It's always hard to know what part of you is really you and what part of you was shaped by your environment and upbringing.  I'm realizing that having kids is kinda like an amazing internal mirror--helpful and revealing...but not very flattering.


CP said...

I love this post. Now that Jacob is older, I am recognizing a lot of his behavior from my OWN memories of childhood. It totally helps to give me more patience. Especially when I think back on how amazingly upbeat and patient my mom was... like, all the time. I want him to have that too (a parent who is understanding and patient).

Also, I think husbands just don't understand that wives need attention. We're like cars to them. We get attention when we break down or start to make weird noises from under our hoods :)

Alice in Wonderland said...

ha ha, I love that car analogy. I think the weird noises coming from under our hoods sounds like, "let's talk. we never talk. turn off your computer!"