I think one of the most unexpected parts about being a mother is that my kids are not tiny clones of me. I’m not talking about looks – although Sydney does look like me, and Reid is Kirk’s twin. I’m referring to personality. Syd is a bit too young to really know her personality, although so far she’s pretty chill and content most of the time. Reid and I are similar in some ways, like we both have laser focus when we see something we really want. For him, this generally applies to TV and snacks. He has determination for days. Super challenging for now, yes. But it will serve him well in the future.
However, both Reid and Sydney seem to have something I don’t: an endless desire to be around other people, all the time. I’ve mentioned before that I recharge by spending time alone, or 1:1 with someone. Kirk jokes that my ideal Friday night is a glass of wine, a book, and some terrible TV show – and he is 100% correct, although I would also add “someone else putting the kids to bed” and “the kids immediately fall asleep and do not ask for a bandaid, to be tucked in AGAIN, an ice pack, another song, to watch you go downstairs, to fix this lego piece, etc.” But Reid is an absolute extrovert, and I think Syd will be as well. Reid gets this from Kirk, obviously. When Kirk and I first started dating, we’d go to parties together where I wouldn’t really know anybody, and he would just float around the room striking up conversations with people like it was nothing. I could easily talk to people, but by the end of the night I was exhausted. We got to a point where I had to tell him he wasn’t allowed to leave me at a party like that – I wanted him to take me around, making some introductions first. It never occurred to him that I would be uncomfortable in that situation.
Cut to Reid: we ran into a friend at Target the other day, someone who Reid doesn’t really know or remember meeting. I introduced them, and Reid launched into a speech on his various forms of footwear and what they are used for. He will strike up conversations with people in such a bold way, asking tons of questions but usually forgetting to ask their name. I’m a little envious, actually. I am pretty talkative (I am a lawyer after all) but it can still be a struggle for me. Reid loves to be the center of attention, and if you don’t acknowledge him when he comes into a room, he’ll force you to by throwing himself on the floor, asking you to “watch him do something cool” (rarely is it actually cool), ask you a question that doesn’t make sense, or something of that nature. His teachers have consistently mentioned that Reid likes to “roll on his friends.” Not in a snitch way, in a literal rolling over his friends way. If it makes someone laugh, Reid will keep going.
One of the more difficult parts of this extroverted personality is the chatter. It is incessant. He basically goes around all day, relaying his stream of consciousness to me. Sometimes it’s pretty funny- yesterday on the way to school, he told me about his dream that he saw a garbage truck go into some lava, and look at that bird, and can he have a grilled cheese for lunch, and can we go on a walk after school, and why are we stopping here, and Mommy you forgot to turn on your clicker, and Mommy you are going too fast. He has LOTS of opinions about how I drive and which direction I take. But as someone who values my alone time, it is pretty exhausting. Largely because Reid doesn’t just want to talk- he wants to have a conversation. Don’t worry- he’ll tell you what to say. But you still have to participate. I feel bad, because sometimes when Kirk gets home, I need about 20 minutes of silence. Nobody talking to me, or at me, or asking questions. Nobody making screechy noises from her crib, just SILENCE. Kirk likes to come home and talk about our day, catch up, things like that. Normal husband and wife stuff. I feel as though I have a set number of words I can hear in one day, and a lot of the time Reid uses them all. Since he’s in school this year 5x/week, it’s gotten better. But summer is coming…
Off to research noise-cancelling headphones.