Raising My Self-Confident Child.

My Antwan.  He’s smart, compassionate, and a fast runner.  Most things come easy to him.  He’s absolutely beautifiul.  And, in many ways, he’s become my biggest challenge.  William is eager to please and is insecure.  Therefore, he really tries to do what I ask of him.  Antwan is eager to please, but not the tiniest bit insecure.  And, therefore, will only sometimes try to do what I ask of him.  The rest of the time he will simply explain why he didn’t.

From early on, it was clear that Antwan had an opinion on how the world should be.  It was a little funny when he was a baby, he would get all worked up when his toys were moved in spots that he didn’t put them in. But now that he’s 4, it’s sometimes a little hard.  He has no time for these silly ideas about me being in charge.  We’re a team.  He really believes that.  If he thinks I’m being unreasonable, he will tell me, with no fear (and no interest) of contradiction.  He’s not a mean child.  He’s not a rude child.  He’s got a heart as big as…a really big state (I don’t do geography.)  On most days, he will bring home extra candy from the treasure box at school, so he can share with us.  He just thinks that he’s got it all figured out.  And, when I watch how he takes care of Lizzie and, even, William; I sometimes think he’s right.   

We met Antwan and William for the first time on January 31st, 2008.  They were both so little and Antwan was still crawling.  (This meant that I was the one that got the first steps.  I’ll always be grateful to the universe for that.)  He didn’t talk much (but soon he did.)  It was clear that the foster parents took adequate care of him, but we don’t think they spent a lot of time talking to him, as his language development is the only thing that is delayed.  It seems that he is about a year  behind.  It’s all in his head, but he can’t always get the sounds out clearly.  Now, with all the 4 year old thoughts floating through his head, he sometimes has trouble expressing them.  And others sometimes have trouble understanding him. 

The good news is Antwan has confidence.  If he is not understood, he will keep on repeating it, usually very patiently.

So, back to that compassion of his.

The other day, he was cleaning his room.  This really means that I was cleaning his room while complaining about how he trashes his room.  He does help clean, but needs specific directions like “put this there.”  I look forward to the day when I can send him to his room and he’ll clean it.  Will that day ever come?  I have no idea.  So, as I complained about the mess, he would answer, calmly, “I’m sorry, Mommy.  I’ll try not to mess up my room anymore.”  He and I both knew that this wasn’t true.  But, he effectively stopped my rant.  Well-played, Antwan.

As I sat on the floor, picking up toys, he sat behind me and started to rub my back.  My back has been hurting a lot lately and, although, I hadn’t said anything, he assumed, correctly, that it was. 

Then, he said.  “I’m rubbing your back to make it feel better.  When I get bigger and you get smaller, I’ll take you to the little mom doctor to make you feel better.”

He had just given me a scary glimpse into my future.  A future where I will be a little old lady whose large (Have you seen his muscles?) black son towers over me.  I don’t want to be a little old lady and I hate going to the doctor.  But, ignoring that, I also felt very loved.  I am so proud of my high-maintenance, stubborn, ridiculously self-confident son who means it when he promises to take care of his little mom.  Although, I see many lectures from him in my future. 

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