There have been a couple of funny comments that remind me that my precious TBP sees the world through a very focused lens…a shiny clean one if he can help it!
Recently, we were watching a wonderful version of Peter Pan together. At the end, Peter is saying goodbye to Wendy. It is an emotional time and I was surprised when my son said, “Wow…that is something!” I knew that he had watched it closely, but I didn’t expect that he would fully understand the gravity of this moment. I followed by saying, “Yes, Peter and Wendy wondering if they will ever see each other again.” His response…
“Yeah…but that’s not what I was talking about. Look at how dirty Peter’s feet look!! How disgusting! He definitely needs a bath!” I smiled to myself…this shouldn’t surprise me because my son likes the world around him to be clean and orderly. I explained that if he went as many places as Peter Pan travelled barefoot, he would have filthy feet too.
Take another recent conversation from a trip to one of my favorite drive-thru coffee places…
“Do you see that container of small cinnamon rolls?”
“Yes. I see it. They look good, don’t they?”
“Actually, I was thinking that we have seen that jar for a long time and the ones on the bottom must be pretty old and rotten by now.”
“I bet they take them out and clean it.”
“Oh… I don’t think so! I have looked at that container hundreds of times and I’m pretty sure the one in the front has been positioned like that the whole time!”
I’m thankful that no one else overheard this report since we were in our car.
When coming home from this same coffee place, my son noticed that the corner was being prepped to sell Christmas trees. He said, “Look at all those trees!” I responded by saying, “I know…they are beautiful, right?” His response surprised me (even though it shouldn’t have)…
“Are you telling me that people put those trees INSIDE their house?!” “What are they thinking?! All those needles and sap! That is SO weird!”
At this point, I’m sure that it is obvious that we have an artificial tree (due to allergies) and that is all my son knows. He isn’t aware of the MANY families that have “real” trees. I tried to explain to him that some people find it strange that we have an artificial tree. They like the smell and the fact that it isn’t plastic. This didn’t seem to have an impact on his opinions.
Last night, I asked what he was doing. He said that he was “tidying up the Legos and playroom so that I can see where my things belong and I have room.” He felt it was necessary to finish this conversation with, “You know, I’m a boy who likes things a certain way!”
In a nutshell, this is really true for most aspects of his life. This is also where he faces the biggest issues. He likes playdates and games to go the way that he planned. As you can imagine, this often is not the case and so his expectations are challenged. Sometimes it is okay and many times it isn’t. With maturity and experience, this is improving and I expect that it will continue to get better over time.
How do I expand his tolerance? How do I prepare him for the messiness that comes with life? When you really think about it… Don’t most people want things to go “their way”? As adults, we understand this won’t always be the case; but my son hasn’t learned this yet. For now, he will continue to want to be the “director” when we play and remind us when we need to vacuum.