Going to the circus

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    One of my main struggles - maybe the only one, in a sense - in being a parent to this little boy is accepting that he is the way he is. I have come to recognise a simple equation: want or expect him to be like all the "normal" kids: stress and misery; accept him as he is in his difference: peace of mind and greater harmony of relationship. Yet still sometimes I kick against the way things are...
    Tonight after school I took J. to the visiting circus in a local town. Forget Barnum - this was a tiny, pleasantly amateurish affair with a juggler who kept dropping the balls and a sad looking miniature pony standing on a makeshift see-saw (you probably call it something else in the States :) An audience of 50 or so people, mostly children of course. Anyway at first J is sitting quietly beside me, for 10 or 15 minutes, just looking at everything with a serious expression on his face and I can feel myself being lulled into my fantasy/hope/desire - oh, there's nothing "wrong" at all, he's growing up, he's getting so calm and good. Etc, etc. Then he starts moving about a bit, changing chairs, no disturbance to anyone, fine. But then... he starts racing round the arena, back and forth, shouting something or other (no-one really noticed; it was all drowned out by the sound of the circus) and then frantically jumping up and down as he watched the clowns, roaring with laughter, his whole body wired and alive with movement... I saw a couple of adults looking at him oddly, with perplexed expressions on their faces. And I feel myself getting a bit stressed, a bit tense, worried he will "do something", wishing he would just sit down like all the other children.... and afterwards I get cross with him when he doesn't listen to me for something and I know partly it's because of my earlier frustration, disappointment, whatever small-minded and essentially self-concerned thing it was I was feeling...
    And really the other half of me, the better half, just saw a little boy full of zest for life and energy having a wonderful time and expressing it in a particularly exuberant way... I would like to be bigger than my concern for what other people think... I guess it is a learning process...
  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Malika - soft gentle hugs for you. None of us is immune to being embarrassed. It's a natural feeling. Meltdowns, unusual exhuberance, defiance - it doesn't matter - they can and will embarrass us. When mine do it, it keep chanting in my head "square peg, round hole - my kids were made to break the mold". It keeps me from over-reacting.

    Don't beat yourself up for a feeling. It's natural. :consoling:

  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Whether you have PCs or difficult children, no one can mortify you faster than your own kids. It's like a law of the universe or something.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Beth and HaoZi. Yes, feeling embarrassed is natural... but the thing is, it's going to happen all the time with my son because he IS so often different in the way he is and behaves that I have to find my peace and acceptance with it... because I don't want to be stressed and embarrassed all the time! And SOME of the problem does come from me, from my own nature which is rather reserved and "private", not expansive and open like his... Eg we recently went to the UK for a few days. In the airport at one point, J was rushing out at people coming out through a corridor, laughing and pretending to be a monster; I was mortified and wanted him to stop... but in fact almost everyone he did it to started laughing and playing along... they didn't mind. Just I was suffering :) I definitely need to "chill" with J... have taken big strides in that direction but you know... I think it's also about picking battles. If he is not actually disturbing or hurting anyone, I should let the behaviour slip...
    Hey, ho!
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I think most of us have those emotions. I know that I do. I bought Tigger lots of shirts from Special Olympics (I was able to get previous years ones for $2 each!) and if we are going somewhere that I know he will act like that and I will feel stressed about it, I dress him in one of those shirts. People are usually much more tolerant of a child who is clearly labeled "special". As he gets older, I expect him to resist wearing anything that mentions any disability (Eeyore won't anymore). But as he gets older, his behavior is less 'odd' as well.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks JJJ.
    I think for me there is an opportunity here to view things with a different eye, to try to move beyond rigid social norms to see something wider and more loving underneath... What I mean is this... sometimes J's behaviour (and I guess that of children "like him", whoever they are!) is annoying and innapropriate but sometimes it is just him giving expression to the great energy and joie de vivre that lies within him... at the airport, for example, he gave a moment of playfulness and laughter to some people; at the circus, as well as the people looking at him oddly, I also saw one woman looking at him with a kind of admiring delight on her face. He was the very incarnation of childlike joy and exuberance... slightly larger than life... but, as long as he expresses himself within certain limits, he does have the "right" to be as he is and he can feel a sense of celebration about that... he is not just a "problem"!! My task is to be able to have the courage and love to see that also, not be afraid all the time of What Others Will Think... in this sense, he is a gift to me also.
  7. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Oh, Malika! I know that feeling so well. I was always amazed at my boys' ability to personify the sheer joy and exuberance of seeing the world through the eyes of a child. We had a similar episode at the circus as well. The boys were about 4 y.o., difficult child 2 loved elephants and was jumping up and down, standing on my lap. The man-jerk behind me told me to make him sit down. I felt like killing him.
  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I had to laugh at that. I'd never be able to get Kiddo to wear one of those.
  9. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    My sons would have been called "dunces" when I was growing up.

    I love this poem by Jacques Prévert:

    The Dunce

    He says no with his head
    but he says yes with his heart
    he says yes to what he loves
    he says no to the teacher
    he stands
    he is questioned
    and all the problems are posed
    sudden laughter seizes him
    and he erases all
    the words and figures
    names and dates
    sentences and snares
    and despite the teacher's threats
    to the jeers of infant prodigies
    with chalk of every colour
    on the blackboard of misfortune
    he draws the face of happiness.

  10. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    French version:

    Le cancre

    Il dit non avec la tête
    Mais il dit oui avec le coeur
    Il dit oui à ce qu'il aime
    Il dit non au professeur
    Il est debout
    On le questionne
    Et tous les problèmes sont posés
    Soudain le fou rire le prend
    Et il efface tout
    Les chiffres et les mots
    Les dates et les noms
    Les phrases et les pièges
    Et malgré les menaces du maître
    Sous les huées des enfants prodiges
    Avec des craies de toutes les couleurs
    Sur le tableau noir du malheur
    Il dessine le visage du bonheur.