Henry and I were at Meijer this morning. After a fantastically quiet and well-behaved morning at home, he decided to turn “it” on the second we hit the store. Forty-five exhausting minutes of grocery shopping followed, including him getting to pick out a special ice cream treat for home, and me getting to pick out a special bottle of “water” for after he goes to bed. The last stop of any Meijer trip is Sandy the pony. As Henry is riding Sandy and being his usual interesting self, the little old lady sitting on the bench next to him comments that he is quite the “rascal.” For anyone who has an especially spirited child, you know that terms like “rascal” and “feisty” from strangers are actually code for “you aren’t a good mom” or “that kid is bonkers.” Okay, maybe they aren’t. But they sure feel that way.
From almost day one, Henry has been strong-willed. I can vividly remember Matt and I standing in the bookstore, somewhere before he was 3 months old, looking for books about raising “spirited” children. We knew, even back then, that this was not going to be easy. Fast forward 3-1/2 years, and Henry is awesome. He is fun, curious, polite, empathetic and smart. He is also a tool. He is obstinate, argumentative, loud, thick-headed and downright nasty sometimes. During those times, it takes every fiber of my being to hold it together and not start drinking my special “water” out of a 32-ounce sports drink bottle at 10:00 a.m.
Thankfully, and I think this is likely the self defense mechanism that all children come with, after the times that he is the worst, he can also be so amazingly sweet and loving that I immediately forget all the other junk. I know that some day his strong personality will aide him in forming intensely strong bonds with friends and family, a love of learning and exploration that lasts a lifetime, and success in whatever career path he chooses (right now I am betting on garbage man (sorry, sanitation professional) or CEO of a Fortune 100 company). So, yes little old lady, he is a rascal. But, in the end, I’ll take a rascal over an angel any day.