Connecting the Dots

I have a jumble of thoughts today about self-awareness or trying to figure out my own personality types and characteristics.  I’ve always struggled to take a test and figure out my type in the big ones like MBTI or the Enneagram.  It has only been in the last few years that I really researched different tests and read so much about them that I finally stumbled upon my types and it felt so liberating after so much frustration.

I am an ENFP (although just barely on the Extrovert side of things) and an Enneagram type 4.  There was a lot of reading, I read many books, blogs, and websites.  One of the sites I really appreciate for her honesty, talk of also searching and using of types is Anne of Modern Mrs Darcy.  It was through her posts that I finally narrowed down that I was a 4 and not a 9.  I will get into why in another post.  I also then figured out that I was an ENFP and not an INFP.  I narrowed it down letter by letter really.  I just find some of the tests are not easy for me.  I have better results with examining each piece and how it relates to the world and then I can choose.

As I was looking up Anne’s website this morning, I’ve stumbled upon some old posts where she is talking about personality and parenting.  I had forgotten about those!  I’m going back to reread those posts as I’m in the midst of parenting my child who does not easily know himself.

This post started with my thoughts on how, those of us that are cerebral may have a hard time in the knowing of how we react and behave to different scenarios.  This makes the personality tests difficult to complete and not always accurate.  I have many more thoughts and will pick out more coherent pieces to discuss in future posts.  Stay tuned!

There is an Outside World

As my oldest child is starting to navigate friendships and the playground world, I am struggling with ways that I can talk him through these experiences and to give him good skills that he can use.  I’ve mentioned it already but he is a sensitive kid and it breaks my heart to see him sad to feel left out or to not have a friend to play with during recess.  He is such a good kid, why can’t other kids see this?!

Now he often does play with other kids and has especially one really good friend and also plays with a few other kids fairly regularly.  On Friday we were talking at the end of the day before he fell asleep and I asked him how recess was going as I hadn’t asked in several days and it was one of the tough ones.

We talked about it and some things he could do different.  He could have played with a group of boys but they were playing tag that was too rough and he didn’t want to do that.  Part of our conversation was that it’s ok to spend sometime just passing a recess on his own if he really doesn’t want to do what the other kids are doing but that in order to make friends he needs to find some days that he does play with them, especially on days where the activity is not so rough.

I think part of why this is so much on my mind (and the topic of the last few posts!), is that I see so much of myself in him and know how lonely I felt through my school years that I hope to help him navigate it better.  But as I discovered that I sometimes don’t understand other adults, I’m not sure that I understand kids  either!

I think my focus will turn to strategies of also noticing the good things and really getting him to see that a day includes both things that may not be great, but that there are moments if we look for them!

When I ask how is day went, he never remembers it which used to really frustrate me.  I’ve now started asking him to reconstruct his day with me so he can remember the things that he has experienced.  And I have realized that this is also me.  I hardly have any memories from my childhood and I easily forget what I’ve done early that day or week.  I think it’s because we both have a very internal, cerebral approach where we both have intense inner worlds and aren’t really focused on the outer world.

I also need to spend some time reconstructing and writing things down so that I will remember things afterwards.  I know we all forget with time but I really feel out of sight out of mind.  Once an experience is gone, it’s almost scary how easily it leaves my memory.

I think I need to research and find ways to be more aware of my days and document more as well so that I can help my son to do those things too.

Are we doing our Best?

I need to reread about highly sensitive people.  Today I’m tired and I’m sure that reduced my coping skills.  My daughter was wearing me down today with her constant chatter and demands to play with her.

My son (Big E) had a hockey birthday party to go to today.  He hasn’t skated since last winter but was game to go to this party.  It was with a few kids from his class.  It was at a larger multiplex arena I had not been inside before so we went early to scope it out as my husband was sleeping (he’s on night shift right now).

My son is also highly sensitive.  In the past he has had a hard time with some activities but he’d been to this same kid’s skating birthday last year so he was ok.  I dressed him up and made sure he made it out onto the ice ok.  He fell a few times but looked like he was having fun.  My daughter who was still challenging with her chatter and whining to go (arg whining drives me crazy).  We headed off to McDonald’s for some fries for her and so she could play a little.

When I arrived back he was already in the dressing room having taken off his skating gear and seemed sad.  There was still cake and the party room so we didn’t have a chance to chat right away.  And is it just me or is talking with other mom’s and dad’s often awkward and just feels like so much work.  I feel like I’m friendly enough but engaging other parent’s in small talk is not my idea of a good time.  At all.

Once home, my son finally told me that he was hit twice with a puck and had a tender bump above his knee.  Poor guy.  I gave him an ice pack and he seemed in good spirits.

We were all tired today.  I really, really dislike time change.  Whoever came up with that idea, did not have kids.  We were all tired and ready for bed today.

I’ve been reflecting and I know it’s my sensitivity showing. I just feel that interactions could be so much easier if we all had intentions to be friendly and kind.   Why does it feel so difficult?  Are we really doing our best?  That is always my default saying and my thought normally.  I think for the most part we are all trying to do our best to live good lives.  But after interactions like today and over the last couple of years, I really wonder, our we really doing our best?

When is a Fib a Lie

I’m struggling right now with my 7 year old who will tell stories of things that he is experiencing that I know are not true.  I think part of it is the desire for attention or to feel like a part of a funny or interesting story.  They are not meant to hurt anyone but I don’t know what to do with them.

I’ve tried telling him that I know what he is saying is not true.  The other day I was telling my husband a story about our 5 year old who came out of her room just as I was walking up the stairs to go to bed.  She turned and went into our spare bedroom and proceeded to turn towards the wall and kept trying to walk but was just bumping into the wall.  She was sleep walking which she does sporadically.

My son then proceeded to say he saw her too.  That he came out of his room and saw it.  He didn’t.  I steered her back to bed and he was fast asleep in his room that had the door closed.

This is the type of story.  I saw a raccoon once on our back fence. He says he saw it too.  He didn’t.  It was early morning and I was alone for at least another hour before he stirred out of bed.

These fibs are not hurting anyone and I think just an attempt to feel a part of funny or “cool” happenings.  I worry that if he is doing this with his friends that can also clearly see sometimes that these stories aren’t true that they will turn away as it can be so annoying.  When I do call him on it he will just keep insisting that his story is true.  Is this a normal part of development?

I haven’t really googled about this.  Sometimes I just want one answer not trying to sift through everyone’s opinions but is there really an answer that is trustworthy?  Parenting each child is so different that trying to figure out what works for one person and their child might be the exact wrong thing to do.  The older I get, I see that I really don’t know many of the things I so clearly thought I did in my 20’s and 30’s.  Raising children really highlights this too.

It’s Done Already?

I watched an interview with Bruce Lipton yesterday.  I had read his book The Biology of Belief a couple of years ago and when I saw that he would be speaking about the biology of spirituality I carved out the hour to watch.  He is certainly an energetic speaker and can go on many tangents but his topic is fascinating, that we are not our genes.  Environment matters.  We have more influence than I grew up believing.

Part of this interview (which was through the health platform ph360), was focused on our unconscious mind and conscious mind.  That 95% of the time we are operating from our unconscious because we are “busy” thinking in our conscious mind.  We are going about our days thinking about the past, future, worries, things to do and not focused in the present.

The unconscious mind is running how we are behaving most of the time.  The part that really struck home for me is that the programming of our habit-based unconscious mind was imprinted from when we were born until age 7.

My son is 7.  What has he seen in my behaviours, my husbands, and the world around him?!  That stopped me in my tracks for a moment.  What ground have I helped to pave for him that will be the basis of his behaviours for most of his life?  Yikes!

I have tried my best to teach understanding, kindness, I think!  Although I’m not perfect and what programming have I unknowingly passed on to him?  My marriage is going through a difficult time.  We don’t have yelling fights but what tense moments has he absorbed?

I am trying to think back to my first 7 years of life.  I don’t have lots of memories from that time frame.  I have struggled with self-esteem, anxiety, and being too critical.  Is that the programming I experienced?  Of course not all of it.  I had a stable base for childhood but it was very lonely.

I still have years to be more conscious, to work harder on not downloading my programming (or to stop as much as I can) onto my son and daughter.

Seeing the Good

As my kids get older I’m beginning to experience the challenge of guiding not only their behaviour but their character.  It’s like most things in parenting where I hear about it and can empathize with the challenges but once I’m in the thick of it, I REALLY get it.  What do I leave for my son to figure out on his own, what do I gently guide, and what do I take a strong stance on?

It’s even more challenging when I see parts of me in his personality and character.

I feel like there is a chance for me to help guide him in ways that I never received.  Hoping that I can ease some angst by helping him to cope better with some of the character traits that are more challenging.

Yesterday I was messaged by his teacher that he was complaining of a tummy ache.  This ailment magically appears when he doesn’t want to do something.  He pulled it out earlier in the morning hoping to not go to school (he had just eaten breakfast and was perfectly fine).  To school he went.  But after food, fresh air, water and time, by the early afternoon he was still “not feeling good”.

If work was busy for me I probably would have asked that he tough it out.  I was working from home and there is that niggling of doubt, maybe he really isn’t feeling well.  Off to school I went.  Of course he was fine.  He did complain of a tummy ache and sore throat but nothing crazy.

Home we came and he played and rested while I did manage a bit of work.  Later in the evening his teacher again messaged me to share some thoughts from the last couple of days (we have such a caring teacher to have taken her time to reach out later in the day).  My son was working on a Father’s Day gift where they are to write what is awesome about their dads.

He was struggling with this so the teacher had tried to give him some prompts to get him started and he told her that his dad is either at work, watching TV, or home after he is in bed.  Some of this is true but not all of it.  His dad is a shift worker and does watch too much TV but he also reads to our son at bedtime when he’s home, will take him sometimes to do fun things like mini golf and also had put together the trampoline we bought a few weeks ago.  And many other things as well.

Which brings me to my son’s view of the world.  He is quick to see the negative, the unfair, and to not see the good.  He turned seven six weeks ago and I know that empathy and the ability to see things differently are just developing.

But this is also ME.

Knowing that my son was sad and couldn’t see the good fills me with sadness.  I know for too long, much too long I didn’t realize this about my self.  I feel gratitude on many things but I also am first at seeing the negative, the unfair, and the exclusion from life.

My wish is that he can develop the ability to also see clearly the good in his life.  Not in a pollyanna way but in a way that is more balanced.  That when asked what is good about life, about his dad, and him that he can see the good things.  That even though life has things that aren’t great, that a part of living is not changing them but changing our reaction.  And all in a way that he can understand and not feel like he is doing anything wrong or that there is anything wrong with him.

Such is life: learning to make better choices and that we can change how we view our worlds.  It won’t happen overnight.  My wish is that I can help him make small changes now so that hopefully it becomes more automatic for him.  That he can spend much more of his early years seeing the good.

Realizing that it is a lesson that we will be learning together.