I think about Jeff’s internal voice a lot. I think about the ways that his dad & I influence that voice and what I really want it to say to him years from now when it is the middle of the night and he is a little bit sad. I know that the final echoing words aren’t going to be my choice, but I try and be mindful of my real goals most of the time. This weekend is proving out to be one of those times.

Things I want his internal voice to know.

1. Never lie to yourself about what you like. You can (and sometimes should) choose to be … selective … about who you share information with. That is fine, just NEVER lie to yourself about it. In public he is distancing himself from his favorite color — because he wants to. At home it is still his favorite, but now out in the world … less so. I’m ok with that, I want his favorite color to feel good and not be attached to the words of those around him who don’t understand.

2. Curiosity is enough to take action. One day last year he said, “I want to play basketball at the Y.” My first step was to say “OK, we’ll figure that out”, my second step was to follow up with Dave and my mom to find out if they knew how Jeff even knew that basketball was a THING … because with no cable and with us as parents we just don’t talk about basketball – at all. He learned to play a little basketball. He went to a free class yesterday (which I pushed a little bit to get over one of those maternal “I IMAGINE” moments), he loved it and wanted to do more — so now he will, until he is done.

3. Ask for anything as long as you can be gracious when the answer is no. So much passes by while people wait to be asked to participate. So many opportunities are lost because people just can’t find their voice fast enough. You can ask for anything – but if someone says no then be a gentlemen about it. Today I asked if he wanted to go shopping with me (and it wasn’t a ‘had to’ – just a genuine either answer is fine).

“Can I get a toy?”
“Sure, if you bring your own money.”
“Can ya toss in a little [eyebrow wiggle] sumpin’ sumpin’?”
ok dude, you have my attention. “What kind of sumpin’ are you thinking about?”
“Nutella and sticks?” (This is our current favorite shared snack, and pretty much a given on a trip to Target).
“Yeah, we can do that.” and off we went.

I didn’t need to say no today (except to spending my money on a toy) but his ability to negotiate is developing (and so is mine frankly). There are many stages (1) Yes. (2) You can earn it for yourself. (3) We can take a picture so that we can tell people you’d like it as a gift. (4) Hahahahaha. No.

I just want him to feel free to see and act on options. Not more, or less, than anybody wants for their kid – but I’m thinking about it a lot today.

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