Friday, September 7, 2012

Different as night and day

Before I had children, it never really occurred to me that the personalities of my kids might be vastly different than my own personality. Our personalities might actually clash, even. The truth is, I never thought about my future children's personalities at all. But if I had, I probably would have concluded that they would be similar to my own, or at the very least, their father's.

Only recently have I begun to think that perhaps some of my current struggles with Owen are due to just how different he and I are. Of course, there's the obvious — he's a boy, I'm a girl. He's three, I'm thirty...something. But there's more.

I'm pretty sure that as a child, I did not play the way that Owen plays. Again, I have to take into account that he's a boy, so his preferred toys are things like cars and action figures, whereas mine were baby dolls and Barbies. I liked to cradle those babies, and comb their hair, and dress them up, and (perhaps this is a little TMI) pretend to breast-feed them like I saw my mom and aunts doing with their babies. Owen, on the other hand, loves to crash everything (and I mean everything) into the couch, the walls, other toys, the legs of adults standing nearby, etc. And he's SO LOUD! And, something I find particularly disgusting, he spits a lot, on account of all of his crashing and bashing sound effects.

Ok, so you say he's a boy, that's how boys play. You're probably right. But some boys are also into quietly sitting still to read books, or color and draw, or even watch an age-appropriate movie or television show. I know I liked to do all of those things as a kid. Not Owen. Well, to be honest, he will sit for a few select shows (the 20-minute Disney variety, that is) and, depending on his mood (and how many times he's already seen it), some movies, too. But he is not one who enjoys coloring or art projects, much to my great disappointment. I used to LOVE to color as a kid and was really hoping to share in that activity with my son. I recently moved his little table and chairs out from his bedroom into the living room and put some crayons and coloring books out for him to access whenever he wants. (This was a big leap of faith and I'm still waiting for the day that I find the walls covered in scribbles!) But I was hoping that having easy access to those materials might inspire him to make use of them more often. Instead, he just likes to walk around the house with the bucket filled with crayons and dump them out from time to time.

And speaking of destruction, this child has a nasty way of breaking just about all of his toys in some fashion or another. I distinctly remember being a very careful child. I hate when things break. I take great pride in keeping my possessions neat and tidy. I can recall my mom saying that she didn't have to replace my shoes, for example, nearly as often as my siblings' because I just wasn't hard on stuff. Even to this day, I'm hesitant to lend anything out to anybody because I worry that they won't take as good of care of it as I would. So that's all probably a sign, sadly, that I'm more materialistic than others, which I guess isn't something to boast about.

But Owen on the other hand, is just so rough with things. Here are two examples just from this morning of things that he's destroyed.

Poor, decapitated Jessie. All the other toys are cowering in fear, I'm sure.

Remnants of a small notebook I had given him to draw in. (See, I told you he's not much of an artist!) This was done while I showered today.

And here's one that I happened to photograph last week that's just gross.

Yes, those are raw chicken trimmings that Owen pulled out of the kitchen garbage (among other trash) trying to find a toy that I told him his dad had thrown away (because it, too, was broken).

I think I might start to photograph all of the broken items he brings me just to document how destructive he is. Perhaps we'll all look back on it someday and laugh. Perhaps.

I love my son dearly. (I hope that is evident on this blog.) All of the above is in no way meant to rag on him and I am certainly not seeking advice or calling out for pity here. And it should be noted that there are LOTS of positive ways in which he and I differ. (He wakes up in the morning beaming with enthusiasm, whereas I am grouchy until I get a shower or, these days, at least a cup of coffee.) I just wanted to take a moment to share the realization that I had recently about why he and I have been butting heads so much. I truly think it's because our personalities are so different. But I think I'll keep him anyway!


  1. I don't think he intentionally tries to break things. He is a boy that likes to play hard!

  2. i remember those things about you too when we were little! and i definitely wouldn't say you are materialistic, i think you are respectful of your possessions, which is something to be proud of :) i know i was destructive, and secretive, when i was little. so maybe some of his personality traits are from genes that you passed outside the ones that are dominant in you or ryan...jackie was a spaz - if you remember(love you jack). i think its wonderful that you are aware of owen has developed his own little personality - it will be fun to see how those traits translate as he gets older too.
    that photo of jessie without a head makes me laugh - kind of reminds me of that boy from Toy Story that all the other toys are afraid of because he is so destructive (the one with the braces). ironic

    1. Yes, that would be Sid, from the first Toy Story movie. That's what it made me think of, too, which is why I captioned it, "the other toys are cowering in fear." Except that I think Sid was a psychopath, which I'm fairly certain Owen is not. (Whew!) Thanks for the comment, Rae!