Friday, December 01, 2006

About a boy

While we were home, three different people commented to me about Isaac's good-nature.* I'm not sure how to put words to this without bragging, but it's true, he's a very happy kid. Vivian is, too--but there is something about Isaac--his smile, the light in his eyes, the way he is thrilled by so many simple things ("Look, mom! A truck!!!" "Oh my gosh, I saw a cow!") that just lights up a room.

I love this about him. It's been his nature since the day he was born. As an infant, he never cried. As a baby, he laughed or smiled at everyone. Even as a toddler--and he was such a difficult toddler--he didn't cry that much. He would get frustrated and burst into tears when he couldn't figure something out, yes, but he was still happy most of the time. Actually, what made him so difficult was his joie de vivre. Unbelievably curious while simultaneously confident that nothing bad would ever happen to him, he dove head first into everything he saw: the knife drawer, the speaker wires, the unstable bookshelf, etc. etc.

Now a pre-schooler, he still has that same spark. This is a kid who insists, "I really like Dr. L, Mom. He's a really good doctor," even when the last few times he has seen that particular man, there has been significant pain involved. He routinely says things like "I am soooo happy at you, Mommy. You are the best Mommy in the world. " And all I have to do is mention one of his friends--Tate or Riley; Heidi or Uncle Del--and he squeals with delight. The other day, when we come home from school, there was a pile of laundry on the floor. "Mommy!" he shouted. "Did we get new sheets?? Did you buy me new sheets? I am so lucky!!"

I know that pre-schoolers are a happy bunch (and why wouldn't they be?), but with Isaac it's more than that. You'll have to trust me on that, though here's some photographic proof for you:
striped isaac smiling 3 orig DSC00038 DSC06790

There's another side to this exuberance, though. Isaac is so easily excited and thrilled that I think sometimes other children are turned off. He is frequently left out of games at the playground--sometimes by circumstance: the other kids are older, or girls who don't want to play with a boy, or siblings that have their own games. Sometimes I think he is too eager, and this leaves him vulnerable. Other kids can take advantage of him easily--he has no pretence, and assumes no one else does either. So if a friend asks him for his toy, he will give it up happily, and then become bewildered when that friend won't give it back.

Of course I would never change this about him, or coach him to play it cool--after all, his attitude is one of my favorite things about him, and a quality that should be valued and appreciated--but I do still worry. And it breaks my heart just a little bit to hear him say "Those big kids won't play with me, Mommy."

I know that as he gets older, he will lose some of this simple excitement for life. God knows you can't survive the teenage years without a good amount of angst. But I hope that this basic nature of his, this incredible joy to be here, on earth, stays with him to some degree. Speaking as his mother, I can tell you that his smile is infectious, and that this world could surely use a lot more Isaacs.

God, I love that kid.

(Here is what really frightens me: that the health issues he will face as an adolescent will beat him down and change him into an unhappy person.)

*Sometimes it takes an unbiased stranger to point out things you just take for granted, no?


bubandpie said...

I don't think that happy nature will ever change. Research on happiness suggests that people have a "set point" of happiness that is fundamental to their nature, regardless of circumstances.

But the part of this post where you talk about other children's responses to Isaac's exuberance rang very true for me. My sister is a buoyant, enthusiastic, happy person, and she has suffered much social rejection for it. In her case, she has significant ADHD-type problems as well, so I'm sure Isaac's problems will be much less severe.

In any case, my sister has remained optimistic all her life - and she has become very, very good at self-treating for her negative emotions: if something bad happens, she knows exactly what to do to return to her natural "set point" of happiness.

And that natural exuberance has been an absolute joy to her family all her life.

Elizabeth said...

He is so cute! I love that last photo of them in the pumpkin patch, it's cute how Viv is pointing her thumb at Isaac!

isimsiz kahraman said...
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