I used to be so smart

July 30, 2008 at 8:54 pm 8 comments

     I used to say, in my pre-child wisdom, that boys and girls are exactly alike at birth and parents are responsible for the gender stereotypes that kids follow. I love to look back at myself B.C. (before C) and laugh at how smart I thought I was then, how naive, how ignorant. 

     Yet I do find myself wondering often about nature vs. nurture and the roles that each plays. I admit to looking at the genetic soup that is Husband’s family and my own and thinking, had we known more, we could probably have predicted this particular child from the mixing of our genes. And conversely, looking at both our personalities, we probably could have predicted raising a relatively happy, pleasant child as well.

     Still, I’m baffled at what it is that makes a kid nice, and more specifically, what it is that makes a kid nice to C in particular. There are lots of nice kids who don’t respond well to C, so there’s something more than simple niceness going on. We’ve had play dates before which have varied among disastrous to not-so-bad to pretty good. I haven’t pinpointed exactly the qualities a good playmate for C must have, but there’s something about an easy-going child that seems to counterbalance his particular brand of personality. C has only child-controlling nature-too big for his britches-likes things the way he likes them disorder, which can be problematic for play dates. He also tends to be interested in things most kids don’t care about, like the fact that his crayons have the colors written in French, Spanish and English; or what coins are in his coin collection.

     Sometimes, however, it turns out just right, and I’m left to wonder what it is in a playmate that makes for a happy friendship. He had twin girls over yesterday, and while they both have that easy-going, nice personality that helps so much, there’s something else they seem to possess that made the play date such a lovely one for everyone. Perhaps it’s tolerance; they just did their thing, let C do his, and somehow it all worked out beautifully. 

     Whatever it is, I wish I could bottle it.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Tapped Out Back in a flash

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. goodmum  |  July 31, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Wow. Wow. And wow.

    I SOOOOO get what you’re saying. And I soooooooooo wish that I too could bottle up whatever the ingredient is that makes some playdates go particularly well. So far, I’m good at seeing what’s going to make playdates fail, but I’m still working on figuring out what makes them go well. Well, that’s not entirely true. It seems that, for the most part, Little Man prefers playing with other children who are older than he is. Also, he does much better with other kids who are gentle and subdued (sounds like C does better with this, too), in comparison to Little Man’s anxious and often worried personality.

    I’m so glad you wrote this. I love reading about other moms’ experiences with their own Little Professors. 😉

    Exactly – it’s easy to see what makes them fail, but not sure what the magic dust is that makes them go well. C definitely grooves on older and/or younger kids more than kids his own age. He seems to search out the 4 year old who listens to him talk endlessly about Thomas or whatever. Or he finds the 10 year old who knows who the Presidents are and bonds with them. It does sound like we have similar little dudes!

  • 2. looksgoodinpolkadots  |  July 31, 2008 at 8:58 am

    I used to think nurture overruled nature. I gave my little girls trucks and let them play in the dirt. I insisted that its okay for boys to have Barbies and Dolls and play house. Guess what… my son is very much a BOY and my daughters are very much GIRLS.

    IMO, my kids are NICE to everyone. Not being nice isn’t an option. They can be rude to each other… that’s just part of siblings. But I will not tolerate disrespect or lack of kindness to others. I have raised them this way from the beginning, in how I deal with others and how I expect them to deal with others. It has taken a bit of prodding and reminding here and there, but honestly, it is more of an example thing. When we pull up beside the homeless man, its the kids who hand money out the back window… its the kids who rush to hold doors open… to draw out the child who is standing off to the side…

    I really saw this in action this past school year with my daughter in kinder. She had a special needs girl in her classroom (we are a full integration school), ALL the kids treated this little girl just like everyone else…talking to her, taking pictures with her, helping push her wheelchair, sharing, etc… I also saw my daughter worry over potential hurt to other kids. She came home one day worried because kids had been teasing another girl for wearing boys pants to school.

    Is this kindness nurture or is it nature? I am an inherently kind person. My Mother is a person that is kind to her core, to the extent that others would exploit that. Maybe my children were born with the trait, but they also see it in how we live our lives every.single.day. I think that counts as well.

    C is precocious, smart and wonderful… looks like these girls could see that. Perhaps they are interested children… who like other people (and all kinds of people) or maybe, they have the kindness gene or a family that is steeped in kindness. Whatever the case, its lovely when we stumble across niceness.


    I do agree, it’s learn by example, but I am continually stumped by nice kids from not so nice parents and the reverse as well. I just don’t get how that works. But boy, when we find a good playmate, I just want to enjoy it as much as possible! It’s so hard to find that. And in the case of these twin girls, I know it’s how they’ve been raised – the family is just full of joy and happiness, and they are lovely. And I guess we’d perhaps like to live next door to you guys! LOL! 🙂

  • 3. Imapixiemama  |  July 31, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    How is it possible that C is two years older than Foster? They were clearly seperated at birth. Kids I think Foster will like he shuns or hides from; kids I think he will have a hard time with at the very least intrigue him. And all the while, I am left to wonder how important all of this forced socialization really is (I know it is – I’m just tired of trying to calculate the outcome of every combination).

    I know – sometimes it is so hard to predict – C was placed in a K class with a boy with Asperger’s, and we all thought they’d be great friends, but they hated each other! Their challenges worked off each other and they just did not get along well at all. Go figure. And yes, I wonder about the forced socialization myself…if C didn’t want it so much I wouldn’t try so hard. But we definitely do not repeat bad playdates with someone – it’s just too hard on him. And you are exactly right about calculating the outcome – it’s such a truth about what we do with them ALL the time, not just with playdates. I feel like I’m thinking two steps ahead of C all the time. No wonder we’re tired, right?

  • 4. robinaltman  |  July 31, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I wish I could bottle that, too. My boys were really nice to everyone before they hit adolescence. Now they’re terribly worried about standing out and not looking cool. It makes me feel awful. They’re never mean, but they won’t put themselves out there, like they used to. They know it bothers me, so they don’t tell me certain stories, and I don’t like that either! Sigh.

    Hopefully they’ll grow right back into themselves when they pass the teenage years, you know? I think those years must be tough and I am not looking forward to them! You’ll have to give me some tips when we get there. 😉

  • 5. lastcrazyhorn  |  August 2, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    I used to have a coin collection . . . I mean, I still have it, but it’s not as big of a deal as it used to be.

  • 6. lastcrazyhorn  |  August 2, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Oh and as for the older/younger thing, that’s a definite aspie trait . . . it’s because our developmental age vs. our intellectual and emotional ages are all going at different rates (and are rarely where they are supposed to be).

    I say that like I’m quoting some book . . . maybe I’ll write it into my book, because that’s my idea. 🙂

    Yay, I finally knew something BEFORE you posted it…lol! It’s a rarity! I have always said C is a 3 year old 10 year old. He totally bonds with kids younger or older than he is. And it makes perfect sense to me.

    Off-topic – nice to see you again. Sorry you’ve had a hard couple of weeks. 😦

  • 7. lastcrazyhorn  |  August 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Yeah. Thanks. 🙂

    I’m picking back up though. You should check out my latest. Muahahhaa. 🙂 I’m getting myself into trouble; I can just feel it . . . lol

    I’m on my way…

  • 8. olivia  |  August 9, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    That was just beautiful!

    Thanks, Olivia, and thanks for visiting!


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