Wednesday, June 9, 2010

he speaks the truth

One of the things that I love about Andrew is how he doesn't sugar coat things. Ever.

On his IEP (his Individualized Education Plan) it says that Andrew has "somewhat impaired relatedness". That means that empathy or knowing how others might be feeling, is not his strong suit. He does show empathy from time to time, but when he does, we often feel pleasantly surprised.

When he doesn't show empathy though, I feel like we get a transparent view into what he's thinking. And often I can completely relate to what he's thinking, though I might not ever say it out loud.

One night as I was putting Andrew to bed he says, "Mommy, I a little bit don't love you AND I love you so, so much. Like, I don't like it when you put me to bed."

On Friday, when I picked him up from school he told me he had to sit in time out two times. "I did a little bit of not good listening AND lots and lots of good listening!"

And one day while Dave was at work he revealed that he wanted Dave to come home mainly so he could play on Dave's phone.

I really like it when he shares things like that. I feel like simultaneously loving and not loving is a universal experience. I like that he tells me when he did a little bit of not good listening and I think it's hilarious that he wants Dave to come home so he can use his phone!

But, as these things tend to go, this inability to sugar coat is something I love about him...but also something that can really get to me. When he comes to dinner and complains that the food isn't cold enough, I wish his empathy meter would flicker to life a little. "Mommy, I keep telling you, I like COLD food!" Times like that I want him to keep it to himself.

It feels like a hard balance to strike.

On one hand he needs to learn that what he does and says affects people. It is in his best interest to solve that puzzle and do some work towards that end.

But on the other hand, the truth has its merits.

So, for now, my friends we'll take this case by case.
And we'll start with the way he talks about my cooking!


Mama V said...

Hilarious. I think this is why it's generally easier for me to like children than some adults. Children are always REAL.

We've been working on teaching Lucas to not be *so* forthright at dinner time, too. I never knew how much it would hurt me to hear "that looks gross" or "I don't like that" when I've spent so much (precious) time and work preparing and cooking and putting my heart into feeding my family well. He always ends up eating the food anyway, but the whole "it hurts mama's feelings when you say that" part is only very slowly seeping in. Like you, I have to remind myself that this honesty is what I love and welcome, and in combination with their limited capabilities to express themselves (because children seem to often mean so much more than they say), to try not to take it personally. (Not that it always works for me.) ;)

Deb said...

Ah yes, out of the mouths of babes. :o) Hopefully Andrew will learn a more diplomatic way of sharing his thoughts as he gets older, yet still be able to keep that honest stance. (Your layout is awesome!)