AJ, my youngest child has a sensitive side a mile wide.
If someone yells in the room, he cries. If the vacuum turns on, he cries. If someone tries to let go and make him walk on his own (he’s 17 months old), he cries. If someone tries to play a game that he doesn’t like, he cries. If Gregory looks at him the wrong way, he cries. He’s scared of being within 40 feet of ocean waves, he’s scared of swings, he’s scared of dogs. He’s scared of shoes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my son just as he is. His sensitivity makes for a very unique little personality. He wants to engage with anyone and everyone and thrives on being held and talked to. He’s the cuddliest of the cuddly.
I point this out to demonstrate that it’s been a lot of work for me to get to know his personality. I’ve been determined that I WILL NOT parent him the same way I do my firstborn. Just because they are both boys does not mean that they are going to do things together.
I’m about to embark on a taboo subject— TV WATCHING. Gasp. Yes, I let my kids watch about 30 minutes of TV a day. We never used to– I think Gregory didn’t watch a single show until he was 2. He didn’t show any interest, so I didn’t try.
Side Note: Why do moms get all up in each other’s business about the TV? Because they’re worried that someone else’s kids will be dumb because they watched too much? Actually, if you think about it, if “so and so’s” kids are dumb, yours will have less competition in 16 years and a better chance of getting into college. The lesson is, we should encourage TV watching with everyone else’s kids except our own. Hand out mind numbing DVDs to all the kids. It’s the only way to get into Princeton.
Gregory very much enjoys a few shows right now, Thomas the Train and Winnie the Pooh, especially. I’ve noticed that his language skills have tripled, thanks to these shows. He has all sorts of polite pithy phrases, like, “Oh deary deary dear dear!”, “Bravo!”, and, “Oh, thank you mother, how very kind of you!”
So, naturally, AJ watches them too. He usually gets up after about 10 minutes, bored, but sometimes he sits next to his brother, trying to cuddle with a sibling who couldn’t care less that he’s there.
But I’ve noticed something very odd. You know how some kids get scared when the bad guy cackles? I’d anticipated this, so we skip all the pooh episodes with “heffalumps and woozles”, because I always found them scary as a much older child. But even Thomas the Tank Engine has a villain– Diesel 10, the jealous engine with a claw.
AJ, my super sensitive child, is never scared at these parts. He never seems sad– it actually makes him bored. Sometimes, he even laughs.
So, what gives? Super sensitive child, unaffected by anything on the TV? For a while, I thought he might be super smart and, at the ripe old age of 1.5, had already figured out that the TV was just a box with pictures.
In the past few weeks, I’ve figured out what scares him. And it scares him like nothing else.
Whenever there’s a rock, rolling down a hill or getting pushed down a hill, he whimpers and cries and until I hold him. There’s actually one part of the Tigger Movie where the animals are all caught up with a boulder as it tumbles down into a pond. Gregory laughs hysterically, as it’s supposed to be funny.
AJ? He sobs and sobs, shaking with fear until I come pick him up. The moment the 2 minute segment is over, he’s perfectly okay, as though it never happened.
I thought it was just that part, but now I’ve started to notice that he whimpers and cries whenever there’s a rock! Someone throws a rock in a pond? Crying. A train sees rocks across a railway? Crying.
If this keeps up, it’s going to make for an interesting childhood. I can just imagine dropping him off at school: “Here’s his lunch, oh, and by the way, make sure he doesn’t see any rocks.”
Do they have a rating system for rocks in movies? It could be Rated SO for “sand only”, and Rated RE-13 for “rocks everywhere– wait until age 13”.
Whatever we’re supposed to do until he grows out of it, I’ll continue to love and comfort this little guy whenever he sees a rock. I mean, how could you NOT want to cuddle with this little munchkin?
And for lonely days when I need extra cuddles from my baby, I’ll keep a copy of “Bob the Builder” on hand. Just in case.