Monday, November 20, 2006

The Difficult Child

When Luke was a baby, we thought he was colicky. When he was one, we thought he was approaching the terrible two's at an advanced pace. At age two, there was some respite. (Well, there was the biting, but what's a little breaking of skin among friends, right Nancy?) But then, when Luke was two years, ten months, Henry was born. As one might imagine, there was a serious "adjustment period." I finally broke down when Luke was three years old and bought a book called The Difficult Child. This was a breakthrough for me.

Up until the time that I bought the book, I couldn't really admit that Luke was difficult. Sure, I was willing to go so far as to say he was spirited, but difficult? Pinning such a label on him didn't seem fair. He has so many nice traits, after all. He is funny. He tells great stories. He makes new friends very easily. I cherish all of these qualities in Luke.

But Luke is difficult, too. In admitting this to myself, I had to let go of the fantasy child that I had been clutching on to. The child that goes through some difficult phases, but that ultimately does not sleep horribly. Or bite other children. Or throw hour-long tantrums. Or pretend to shoot people. Or yell at Craig, "Your consequence for putting me in my room is that I'm going to take away all of your beer!" Because, really, I keep waiting for an easier age to arrive, and it doesn't. Luke is Luke, with some variation to keep us on our toes, but the personality and the challenges remain a constant.

So anyway, I finally bought this book about difficult children, and it is great. I wish that I had bought it sooner. And it has been freeing, to some degree, to read about children just as difficult, or even much more so, than my own. But more than anything, it is just owning the book that has been so good. In owning the book, I am owning my child for what and who he is. And this kid--he's often difficult.

Hi. My name is Ser. I am the mother of a difficult child.

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