Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My blurry toddler

Julian is almost a year and a half and he is decidedly not a baby anymore. Not even dressed in baby blue footsie pyjamas and asleep in my arms! He's all toddler now. And he's always blurry! Seriously. We have no non-blurry photos of him since he learned to walk a few months ago. Case in point:

I'm constantly amazed at how fast he is learning things and making connections now. But what impresses me even more is the personality he is developing. He is an interesting mix of both Stephen and I. Fun and silly like his daddy. Shy and cautious like his mommy. And already, he seems older than his age.

We were at a birthday party on Saturday and there must have been about a half dozen kids there ranging in age from 1 to 4 and it took Julian a long time to warm up. We led him to his buddy's room where all the kids were playing and generally wreaking havoc ;0) He just stood there. Silent. In a corner of the room and was content to just watch all the other kids have fun.

I recognised myself immediately in him at that very moment. It was like watching myself at every age. I am a really weird combination of shy and out-going at the same time and it manifests itself as such: I go to parties or get-togethers (even though at the last minute I always dread going and try to think of excuses to get out of it but I usually can't think of any valid reasons and end up going anyway) and just don't know how to socialise. I'll stick to the 2 or 3 people I know all night and mostly listen until there is an uncomfortable lull in the conversation at which point I ask stupid questions about weather and the like to get the ball rolling. I don't really actively participate in any conversations. I am usually too busy hoping no one noticed that I haven't been mingling or talking much or generally that I am a total social idiot and hoping against all hope that no one "calls" on me.

(Now all of this is totally internal because everytime I mention that I am shy or that I feel awkward in social situations, no one beleives me. Apparently I am so good at faking it that people generally think I'm okay to be around.)

But watching Julian stand there not feeling like he could jump in and play with the others broke my heart. He's only 1 and a half! I don't want him to be like me. I want him to feel confident and entitled to play and have fun and participate. I just don't know how to do that. Eventually, all the kids left the room to get pizza and cake and it was only then that Julian started to explore all the cool toys in the room now that he was by himself. He was really quiet and just carefully looked at each toy. The whole time we were there, he didn't even say a single word...which is astounding really because he is usually a real chatterbox.

Luckily, he inherited some of his dad's ability to have fun and laugh and be silly. Otherwise I'd be totally heart-broken. I know how hard it is to grow up shy. And to try to hide it as an adult by way over compensating. It can be so demanding and stressful. I just don't want that for him.

Another example of his maturity: On Monday, he was playing alone in the living room at Grandma's and I guess he went to pet the cat and she freaked and swatted him. At least that's what we think happened because no one saw. He walked into the kitchen later and grandma noticed that his eyes were a little red. She asked him if he was okay and if he got hurt and that's when he started to whimper. The cat had scratched his hand and broken the skin. I don't know why, but it really gets to me that he didn't cry or scream or hit the cat back in the heat of the moment. It gets to me that he tried to console himself and not make it a big deal. It just makes me want to scoop him up, hold him tight, kiss him all over, remind him how wonderful and special he is and never letting him go.

It amazes me how having children totally points out all your flaws to yourself and makes you want to immediately fix them so you could become a better role model for your child. It's little things like that that make me at once sad and optimistic about our future. I think he's going to teach me a lot about myself as he grows and be the motivation I need to be the change I want to see. Who needs Dr. Phil or self help books! I say get a kid if you're interested in self-improvement ;0)

In knitting news, I'm already two days behind on ornament making! And I was doing so well too... My excuse though is that I've been furiously knitting this:

It's the Menorah pillow from Handknit Holidays. I am knitting it for a friend of the family. It is up on Julian's bed blocking away. I'll have to figure out the i-cord edging tomorrow and then find a pillow form for it. I'll tell you more about it next time.



  1. Aww, he's growing up so quickly. I had a period of time with both my kids where the pictures were constantly fuzzy like that. Lily stands still now, but Owen likes to be silly. It takes a few clicks of the camera to catch a nice one of him. *lol*

    The pillow is going to be gorgeous!

  2. Isnt he such a gorgeous boy. I am shy too, but now seem to talk a lot more since I have had kids. At parties though I think I am always the wallflower. Lachlan is a bit like me in that way too, but Isabelle takes after her dad and just talks to anybody about anything. I am sure when Julian's little brother arrives he will become more confident in things.

  3. Anonymous6:04 p.m.

    Wow. You just described child-me and adult-me. I never really say much if I am around more than 3 other people. He'll grow out of it somewhat. I did and I'm guessing you did too. He'll probably be the most well-behaved kid you will ever know.

    The menora pillow is looking good. My boyfriend is Jewish; maybe I have time to knit him another gift...

  4. Anonymous8:21 p.m.

    WOW he's getting so big! and don't worry about his off-and-on shyness, it's a phase. it's all a phase (or at least that's what i tell myself). i LOVE that you are back to regular posts, by the way!!! and i suspect you enjoy it as well :-)

  5. I am the worst in social situations. I never have anything to say and I think everyone knows it because they never ask me questions. My daughter is like that too. The other day a little 2 year old girl asked her if she could talk because although they were playing together my almost 6 year old hadn't said a word! She's also very "brave" and won't cry even when she gets hurt. She can admit she's afraid but tell us she's going to do it anyway (example, when she rode a horse recently.) I love the blurry photo! I have one of my daughter that I can't get enough of! It just says so much about them!

  6. Anonymous9:37 p.m.

    Your description of your and your son's shyness mirrors mine and my older son's at that age. He either had no interest in playing with the other children at day care or nursery school, or he was scared of them -- I never really figured it out. But he was definitely shy, just as I had been.

    But by about 2nd grade he had friends, and that continued. He's now 22, left rural WI to go to college at New York University in Manhattan, decided to spend his semester abroad as the only NYU student in South Africa, participated in the debate team, and has generally amazed us with his intrepid-ness. His shyness, if that's what it was, is totally gone, replaced by confidence and a genuine interest in other people.

    So don't worry too much at this point. Let him find his own comfort level at his own speed and celebrate his triumphs, whatever they may be. If he has the security of your love behind him, he will be able to find his own place in the world.

    btw, there's nothing wrong with pretending to be a outgoing and social person even if you aren't really. That what most of us do!

  7. i hear ya about the blurry pictures.
    my son is 18 mos old and will yell "cheese" if he even sees the camera, but wont' stand still long enough for a non-blurry picture.
    he and his big sister were cuddling on the couch the other day and i snuck in with the camera but of course he started jumping around then and wasn't still again all day.
    your little guy is SUCH a cutie!!!

  8. Anonymous7:54 a.m.

    That pillow is stunning!!! Your kiddos is adorable - enjoy that age. My son is 7 and talk about a blurr. Ha!

  9. The Menorah pillow cover is totally cool. I love it.

    The little knit mouse in a previous post is fabulous, too.

    I'm note quite sure it's appropriate to combine those two comments in one, but consider me too lazy to make a second comment down below.

    Wanders off considering what kind of trouble a knit mouse could get into...

  10. Anonymous11:45 p.m.

    Pillow? Gorgeous.

    Son? Gorgeous.

    And I'm like that too; I'm incredibly shy, and I deal with it by being tremendously outgoing, and trying to control any conversation that might hedge into territory that I don't want to go to. The theory being that if someone thinks they're hearing everything there is to know about me, they won't ask the questions that I don't want to answer.

    But no one believes me, either. I'm really uncomfortable with really random things -- example, we'll go to my boyfriend's parents house, and I'm not comfortable getting myself a drink out of the fridge or a glass from the cupboard, and I'll try and get him to do it for me, but I have to be subtle about it, or I provoke comments from his mother about how "Go on, you're not shy!" which just makes me see red.

    Always glad to know it's not just me.

  11. I know just how fast they grow up, my daughter's 3rd birthday is today and she already seems older then what she is!
    I am actually really shy at first too, no one believes me either. I have to really know the people to really be relaxed.

  12. Anonymous10:44 a.m.

    it goes so quickly!!! I'm entering the fuzzy picture stage too since Caleb won't stay still!

  13. Anonymous6:46 a.m.

    Here's the best thing you can do for Julian when you feel like that...

    "scoop him up, hold him tight, kiss him all over, remind him how wonderful and special he is and never (let) him go"

    Those are your own word! Trust your own instincts. I am certain there are worse things than growing up like you. It's hard to avoid this, but try to not put your grown up feelings and understandings on Julian...he may be happy to be by himself. Don't panic unless he seems unhappy with himself! I know it's kids are all at different places on the social sliding scale.


  14. Wow, Look happy he is.... this is so wonderful.

  15. Thank you for introducing me the wonderful information.And .....Totally boring.!