Tuesday, May 18, 2010


How many of you know what it is like to parent a reserved child? I would guess many of you, although I'm sure there are some out there with only extroverts that have never known a day of reserve in their lives. I actually have one of each. My super-extrovert, Adrienne, has never met a stranger. I used to have to retrieve her from the laps of random mothers during story hour and keep her from joining the picnics of those seated around us at parks. She checks herself into her class at church, runs to greet friends (adults included), and I can count on one hand the number of times she has cried when I have left her.

But long before I had my super-extrovert, I had Marianna. She has lived life right in the middle of extrovert and introvert from the moment she was born. What I mean by that is that she is either very reserved or very unreserved, not that she is actually in the middle. Because she is most definitely not. She is a mixture of both extremes, and I never know which it is going to be. Sometimes she will strike up a conversation on the play ground with a stranger and run off with that child as if she has known her for quite some time. Other times she will not even glance at other kids or offer so much as a, "hi." This week at church we were walking through the halls when a cute little boy her age yelled, "Marianna, Marianna! Hi!" She almost ran and hid because she said she didn't know his name.

If any of this sounds familiar, then you know that one of the difficulties of parenting a child who has both tendencies is not having much of an idea how your child will react in a given situation. Do I know for sure how Marianna will respond to going into her class? Not really. Do I know whether she will talk to the people Nathan works with when we visit his office? Nope. Do I have any idea whether she will hide behind my back or jump right into the action when we walk into the middle of a birthday party. Not a clue. So this past weekend, I really didn't know how she was going to respond to her first ever dance recital. She has never been on stage. For my intro/extro, the day held the possibility for many outcomes. I hoped it would be a day she really enjoyed 1) because of all her hard work 2) so she would have a positive first experience in front of a crowd. But I reallly didn't know.

30 minutes before the show started, I dropped her off backstage. One of the last things she told me was, "Mom, these socks are really hurting my feet." Not a good omen. I sat out in the auditorium and waited til her number to see what it was going to be. 10 seconds in, I knew she was a performer. The stage, at least for now, is like a second home.

It could have gone very, very differently, and if so, that would have been fine. I never want to force her to do something she doesn't want to do. But I also never want her reserve to keep her from doing something she loves. I'm glad to say that for her first recital, it definitely did not.


Penny said...

Love the pictures!!!! She is too cute. :)

Mel said...

I bet that moment was priceless when you realized, "yep, she's a performer!" She's definitely a natural :)

Kathy R. said...

Awww ... so sweet! Glad it was a positive experience for her ... and you!

Radar's Mom said...

So cute! And it seems I got me one of those coin-toss kiddos too. We spent a week in Spain with my dad and his wife... Radar wouldn't let his Nana hold him without pitching a total freaking fit. Then we went out to a restaurant and he ran into the waiters arms, screaming with glee! Whatever!

sanjeet said...

Love the pictures
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