Being an Extrovert Mum to an Introvert Son
Yes I am writing about extrovert and introvert and yet I feel these are again just some of the boxes. Not everyone is a complete either. So there are times my introvert hubs and son go out in the world and deliver a lectures, extempore and speeches. Both of them are amazing speakers btw. And me the extrovert develop jelly knees if I have to address a hall of audience. Yeah not many people understand that I can turn into a bundle of nerves, since they do know me as a vivacious gregarious loud human.
However, there are certain traits and especially in social set ups where I see this play up and come to the fore the most. So while it is easy for me to talk to people, laugh and joke like I always knew them, my son will come up with a variety of answers ranging from hunn to ah to yes as conversation sentences (yes that hunn is a complete sentence for him…the beginning, middle and the end) with people he knows intimately too.
For well meaning humans around me when he was little, not talking or preferring to remain alone with his nose in the book was something like a dis-order and not normal. And since I hadn’t had any experience with introvertism, I would also think that maybe this is not the norm. everybody around me used to say, oh he will become ok when he grows up, don’t you worry and worry I used to much. I used to take him to many kiddie birthday parties and social gatherings, where he as an infant used to howl and kept sitting in another room in the venue or howl so much we had to leave. All my close relatives will vouch for this.
Anyways as a well meaning, unconscious and unaware mother I only took it for social shyness and the poor kid used to be subjected to peer birthday parties. Here too, he would cling to me, sit with me, not swing or slide. To say that only he was distressed is half the story, I used to be equally if not more stressed, first prepare him to go, then cajole him, then come back with tears in both his and my eyes and wonder yeh theek kab hoga.
One day we were both sitting in the park, and watching kids play and run around. He was just about 5 years only. I asked him, “arnaav why don’t you enjoy?” “don’t you like to go out there and play?” he calmly asked me another question, a simple question that just entirely shifted my perspective. He said, “ mamma why do you think I don’t enjoy. I am enjoying just observing and watching. You know I enjoy books and being at home, do you think these kids enjoy the same?” it was a huge moment for me and something that completely shook me out of wherever I was at that time and whatever I was doing to make him fit in with others. I internalized that if I was asked to keep my gob shut and my giggles contained, it would be such a punishment for me, and by that logic if I am snatching his peace of solitude and aloneness I am actually punishing him. I learnt my lesson then and never subjected him or myself to another birthday party with magic shows, jumpies, games and blah.
Just one simple step towards acceptance, that we are both completely unique and different personalities brought in a lot of peace in both our lives. My son is not a mini me. Infact he is not a mini anyone, he is who he is, a unique person with his own likes and dislikes and way of living life.
Today, he accepts my loudness and I his quietness. We still do tend to get onto each others nerves sometimes with this and when we do we try to convey it politely.