Considering I’m all kinds of extra, it’s no surprise that my son and daughter both have beautifully colorful positive personalities. Not like they had a choice! When we found out we were pregnant I was sure I wanted another daughter. I’d spent the last 11 years side by side raising one and felt I could relate more to a daughter than a son. This was one of the reasons I didn’t want to find out the gender, which my partner didn’t like at first but came to appreciate further into the pregnancy. I kept telling myself I just wouldn’t know WHAT to do with a boy! And then, on the operating table with nearly a dozen nurses holding up my legs encouraging me to push, Hunter was born and life hasn’t been the same since.
Now, Hunter did not like being a baby. He had other plans. He very much craved exploration to feed his curiosity and had no time not being able to move and communicate like he wanted to. So it’s no surprise he started walking at 9 months, with running coming shortly after that. Now at 16 months Hunter is literally living his best life. He wakes up every morning with a big ol’ grin on his face ready to take on the world. After milk of course! He chats it up with people on the T, in the grocery store and if he is walking past you he’s probably going to stroke your leg. It’s all love! And if he senses good vibes from you he’s going to want to sit in your lap…even if there is another baby there!
I have no idea why I thought I wouldn’t know what to do with a son. Hunter is endless amounts of fun! My house has never been so dirty and I’ve never been so tired. Totally worth it.
Music is a big part of our lives at home, Hunter’s dad works in urban music so when we heard about a local music class we knew we had to check it out. Just like we thought, he looooved it! Last week at our last class he was in an exceptionally fantastic mood, saying hi to all the parents, checking himself out in the mirror, playing with all the instruments and wanting to say hi to everyone. Halfway through class another Mom in the class looked at both his Dad and I and said, “Oh, he is going to be trouble!” to which Hunter’s Dad responded with “Oh yeah!”.
This instantly set off alarm bells to me and I quickly chimed in and said, “No, our son is NOT trouble nor is he going to be trouble. He is a high energy child who loves to have fun. He isn’t trouble”. So many thoughts raced through my mind. Why was I having to explain my son’s behavior to a stranger? Why did she think trouble was an appropriate choice of words? Why didn’t she make a similar comment about the little girl (white) who was running around the class? Is she calling him trouble because he is a brown child? Seriously, did she think that was OK to say? It clearly isn’t positive.
Don’t you just love peoples unsolicited comments about you and your children? Oh, he is going to be trouble! He is soooo big for 16 months! You’re still breastfeeding? He doesn’t watch TV, wow! Your kids are 12 years apart, was he a mistake? You look soooo young to be a Mom!
Hunter has so much more energy than my daughter and we LOVE it! He’s always up for an adventure and loves to be active. He isn’t trouble. Curious? Absolutely! High energy kids aren’t destined for mischief and there is no need to imply that.
If you come across a high energy child and feel compelled to tell their parent they are “trouble” please don’t. It’s not helpful or productive.
Instead, try these:
I wish I had your energy!
You’re going places!
You have so much to do today!
Where will your adventures take you today?
Aren’t you full of energy! Let’s dance!
___ seems like they are having so much fun, that’s awesome!
Take out trouble and other non-positive words and add these:
Guess what? Parents of high energy kids know their kids are high energy! I do! I think it’s so important to be mindful of the words we use and how we use them because they can either isolate or bring people together. Parenting is hard enough, it would be nice to show one another some compassion and respect.