Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Makes a Sweetie So Sweetie-ish?

So, I don't know, was it a couple months ago that we took our cats to the vet? Whatever - doesn't matter much. They're fine. A little fat. And Spoon! has one evil temper. But it was a good checkup for both felines overall. That's not what I'm here to talk about.

What I still remember most from that day is Sweetie's insistence on making her presence known. Politely, mind you. But, man, is she persistent in her quest to ask questions, offer answers, and generally be noticed.

Our vet, who's clearly more of an animal lover than a child lover, at one point asked us,

Wow! Where did she get her confidence from?

Confidence? Is that what we're calling it these days? Hmmmmm.... well, if you say so....

Anyway, this rather rhetorical question actually made me think - where does Sweetie get her confidence from?

Everything from Sweetie's declaration of being great everyday, to her creativity, dramatics, her pride in her smarts, her sense of humor, her ability to quickly make new friends and speak up in school - it all really does lead to the conclusion that she's one confident kid.

I know I wasn't terribly confident as a child. I was really very shy. I still am - although as I've aged (even starting back in my high school days) I do see that I'm the type of person who, once I know what I want, I will go after it no matter what the consequences.

Hubby was a shy one too. He was interested in the sciences as a child, as well as creative pursuits, and he entertained himself hour after hour with experiments and artistic endeavors. Not so much socially.

Even now, Hubby and I laugh at our ability to clear a space when we move into it at any given social function. We both just don't know what to do to encourage conversation amongst our friends and family.

So, given all that - what's up with Sweetie?

To an extent, I think it has a lot to do with her age. Yes, I know there are shy kids her age. Kids her age who still cling to their parents' legs. Kids who are happy to let others lead. But for the most part I think that the larger population of Pre-K/Kindergarten children are eager to play, laugh, create, yell, show off, and dramatize.

Just like Sweetie.

But with that, Hubby and I are definitely intent on encouraging Sweetie's outgoingness. I so want to get her involved in community theater when she's old enough. If she shows interest in sports and/or any other creative pursuit, I want to be able to provide that in her life as well.

And Hubby and I are extremely interested in continuing her love of learning and her pride in her intelligence. When/if the school testings prove that she'd be able to handle advanced level courses, you better believe that she'll be in them. Our financial situation may not allow for special privatized schooling or things like that, but we can certainly encourage her to learn and be actively involved in any number of things as long as she has an interest in them.

I mean, I absolutely love when Sweetie writes a new word or learns a new skill, shows me what she can do, and beams with proud excitement when I and Hubby express how impressed we are with her abililities.

I love that she's as smart as she is, that she knows it, and that she's not afraid to show it.

But, again - where exactly did this come from?

Just like many of her book smart skills that I know we personally didn't teach her - I truly wonder where her thrill of life and learning has come from.

Her pre-school is good, but not that good as far as I've seen. And I much more often feel like I'm sending Sweetie to play on her own or to watch TV while I work, than I'm actually sitting down to do something with her. Hubby, I'd argue, interacts with her just as much - or less, given the hours he's home per week - as I do. And Nana is a terrific Nana, but I'm not sure just how much learning, interaction and confidence boosting is going on during Nana Days either. (Love you, Mom! You're awesome and greatly appreciated!).

So maybe it has to do with our making sure that Sweetie has in her life what Hubby and I felt was missing from our own youths. Maybe, even subconsciously, we're making darn sure that Sweetie knows how great and smart and talented she is because we as kids perhaps didn't feel that way about ourselves so much.

In fact, I think Sweetie's ability to go off and play and create on her own time may be the very thing that gives her the confidence that she has. Hubby, Nana and I don't coddle her and make her feel like she can't do something if one of us isn't doing it with her. She's often free to explore, do, and dream on her own.

Now if only she didn't feel the need to tell us every. teeny. tiny. detail. of what she's exploring, doing, and dreaming - now that would be just great.

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