Saturday, November 03, 2012

Reason #4 Why My Marriage is Just Like Yours

We worry about our children.

Ruanita and I take turns worrying about our children. I’ll obsess about Lucas’ lack of vegetable intake in the limited diet he will eat while Ruanita worries about Sophie’s shyness at school. I will worry about Nicholas spending too much time playing video games while Ruanita worries about Sophie not reading as well as her twin brother. Typically, we will worry about different children at different times, thereby protecting our kids from the double whammy mommy fret.

On rare occasion, however, we will both focus our energy on worrying about one child. Right now, we are in the midst of just such a vortex of anxiety. It began recently when we had a parent/teacher conference with Lucas’ fourth grade teacher. All went well, for the most part. He had scored slightly above average on his state reading test and well above average on his state math test. He had a little trouble staying on task in the classroom and there were instances where his anxiety issues had been apparent to his teacher when he wasn’t sure what he should be doing. These reports were not unexpected. And she raved about what a sweet, kind boy Lucas is. We were fairly happy with the overall report until his teacher broached another topic with us.

Basically, in no uncertain terms, she indicated that she was concerned about Lucas being bullied in middle school next year. She recalled an incident in class where another boy had his feet propped up on Lucas' seat and would not move them. Lucas just stood there looking at the boy’s feet saying nothing. Looking anxious. She made the boy move his feet, but was concerned that Lucas said nothing. She was concerned that some of the boys with "stronger," more testosterone-infused personalities may see Lucas as the perfect--silent--victim.

Here’s the thing. Lucas is completely 100% non-confrontational. He is not an assertive child. He does not speak up. As a matter of fact, he lives most of his life in his own little world. A world where everyone plays video games and builds robots from cardboard boxes and walks around singing show tunes. He lives in a happy world filled with Einstein and science documentaries and choir and Legos and Goombas and Myth Busters and grilled cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off. He is the quintessential geek. And I absolutely love his geekiness. He is incredibly sensitive and sweet and gentle. And nerdy. And Ruanita and I adore him just the way he is. 
Lucas and His Geek Squad

Lucas has always had friends in school. He is a pleasant, engaging kid who I think people like. The fact that his sensitivity and non-assertiveness would cause him issues in life simply was not on our radar. We have always relished the fact that he will likely grow up to be a sensitive man. Women love sensitive men, right?  I guess we always knew that he wasn’t like other boys, but to actually hear his teacher say the words, “He’s not like other boys” was a bit of a slap in the face. But it is the truth. He’s not rough and tumble. He’d rather sing you a song than wrestle with you. He’d rather watch a documentary about the Earth’s core than ride a bike or play baseball. As a matter of fact, he is almost 10 years old and does not know how to ride a bike. And has no desire to learn. And he has absolutely zero interest in learning to play any sport. Unless you count chess as a sport.

This weekend, Ruanita and I were shopping for Christmas presents for the kids. In the toy aisle as Target, Ruanita turned to me and said, “Do you think it’s because we don’t let him play with guns? That we won't even let him have a Nerf gun? Do you think he’d be more assertive if we let him play with toy guns like other boys?” Ummm….no. I don’t think arming him will make a difference. I think he is who he is. I think it is in his nature to be completely, unapologetically Lucas.

Does this mean we will not worry about him? Does this mean we will not obsess over him? And fret about him? And ache in the deepest, darkest parts of our souls for him to have an easy life? A happy life? No. We are his parents and we will worry about him and for him until the day we die.

Worrying about our kids is one more way that my marriage is just like your marriage.


Anonymous said...

Today's was particularly poignant. Lucas is a wonderful kid and reminds me of one of my grandsons who is into so many more things than his twin brother, the jock. He has found his niche in rock climbing. It is a solo sport and one that demands strength but doesn't need a team to do it. He also loves his fashion sense, his knights, his legos and his love of learning. I feel both will find their way in life. I am glad the teacher mentioned it about Lucas as this way you can make sure it doesn't happen that he becomes bullied. But as long as he has friends and is liked I think his friends will stand with him. Bullies tend to pick people who stand out as loners and clearly Nicholas is not that. I love the boy..

Jessica said...

Thanks for rescuing that heavy post with the hilarious discussion about the Nerf gun. I seriously laughed out loud. :) Kids are how they are and it sounds like he has a sweet nature. I think the biggest thing you guys need to do it make sure that you keep the lines of communication with him open so he will come tell you if anything serious every happens in that bullying realm. Trust me, I could give you an earful about bullying these days! And Audrey is only in SECOND grade. So I know your pain and your worrying and the heartbreak--when your child cries about not wanting to go to school or go out to recess. Be attuned to him and any clues about what is going on in his life and any sudden changes. But as parents we all have to know that it will all work out. It is up to our children to learn how to cope in society--no matter what society throws their way.

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