Big Monkey is what I would call ‘spirited’. The description of spirited children is that they are, “by temperament, more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent and uncomfortable with change than the average child.” (Mary Sheedy Kercinka, Raising Your Spirited Child, 2010). I would say that he definitely possesses all of these traits in varying degrees.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing and life with him is anything but dull. He has the most wonderful imagination, he is a deep thinker, he’s very sensitive to others’ feelings and loves to make people laugh – he’s a natural born entertainer.
But he’s also very strong-minded, determined and has the persistence of a trained warrior. I mean seriously, if this child gets an idea in his head, nothing – and I mean nothing – can dissuade him otherwise. All these traits, if channelled and used wisely, will make him a wonderfully strong adult who knows who they are and I have no doubt that one day he will make a great leader.
However, in the body of a three-year-old, these traits mean that we are constantly butting heads and I often find myself drawn into ridiculous negotiations and stand-offs with a pre-schooler.
So last tonight, as I was tucking him into bed (after the epic battle to get him up the stairs in the first place), after having (literally) pinned him down to clean his teeth (that’s a whole other post!), I braced myself for the argument over ‘one more story’. As I prepared to calmly explain, yet again, that it was now sleepy-time, and braced myself for the onslaught of begging and “but why-ing”, he simply looked up at me with innocent three-year-old eyes and said, “I love you”. A real, true, genuine expression of love, without prompting or encouragement or promise of a chocolate biscuit.
And just like that he carried on with his conversation about dinosaurs as he wriggled under the covers. And I melted with love there and then, and knew that this boy, that often drives me crazy, will have my heart forever.
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