Thursday, November 08, 2012

It's Elementary...or it Ought to Be.

Every child is unique. I realize this, and feel very blessed that I have the children I do. They are great kids.

That being said, they are not without their issues. Zaya's particular difficulties were brought to mind recently when we made a trip back home to see family.

See, here's Zaya's problem. He inherited his father's unconcern with what people think of him. Within reason, neither my husband nor my son are too fussed with making a good impression, or caring whether or not they are universally loved. Fortunately for Art, he also is fairly shy and introverted, which means that people don't know about his lack of concern for their opinion, because he keeps his mouth shut. If that was all Zaya had inherited, then he would have the same charmed life that his father has.

Unfortunately, Zaya also inherited my mouth. We talk a lot, or more correctly, we talk to fill in gaps, or just to announce something to the world. The difference is that I care intensely what other people think about me (and, by extension, my children and husband), so most of what I say in a public setting is wearing the "don't offend people" filter. Even with my filter, I frequently say things that make me wince when I remember them, but at least I realize that what I said sounded stupid or rude.

Zaya, therefore, has his daddy's chill, nothing-much-bothers-me attitude, combined with his mommy's big mouth, so things like this happen:

At our homeschool co-op, Zaya raises his hand and asks the choir teacher (who is a super-sweet, funny lady, and an excellent music teacher) if she could play more accurately when giving the kids their accompaniment. Yeah. In front of the entire class of 3rd-10th graders. Of course, he gets told to play more accurately on the piano all the time, because he's a little kid in piano lessons, but he had absolutely no clue that it might hurt a grown-up's feelings. Grown-ups are invincible, right?

Which brings me to our visit back home. Zaya walks up to one of my aunts, someone he's seen at least once a year since he was born, and asks her who she is. He doesn't explain, as I would've if I'd been in on the conversation, that he always confuses her for the other aunt whose name starts with the same letter. No. He just walks up and asks her who she is, as if he's never seen her before in his life.

His sister, who has her father's sense to keep her mouth shut, and her mother's concern about what other people think, was appalled when we discussed it later in the car. She proceeded to tell him exactly who that aunt was, down to what her house looked like and the name of her dog. Really. She is his Watson. (The Martin Freeman kind, not the Nigel Bruce kind.)

Meanwhile, Zaya still can't figure out why it wasn't a good thing to say. He wanted to know who she was. He couldn't remember. Why shouldn't he just ask? I tried to tell him to ask me or Grandma Lilibeth next time he's unsure of his great-aunts, but I have no hope of his remembering that it isn't socially acceptable to let loved ones know that you are confused about their identity.

And then he told one of our best friends that her baby was "finally starting to look cute." What!? Her baby has been adorable from day one; he even has a picture of said baby on his cabinet and talks about how cute he is. Who says things like that?!? Luckily, it was someone who has known Zaya well since birth, and knows that he is just a tiny bit of a crossover between Sheldon and Sherlock. Except, you know, moral. And without the ability to notice the world around him.

Maybe I should just stop caring what people think, since he is so oblivious to it himself, but I can't do that as a mommy. I still care, even if he doesn't. All that to say, if you see Zaya in the future, and he says something that sounds a touch sociopathic, please understand that if you said the exact same thing to him, it probably wouldn't bother him in the slightest, and, as soon as they know about it, his mother and sister will be mortified. Perhaps that will make up for the shock of the moment.


Lisa said...

At least you and Z. don't suffer from my affliction--caring what people think AND having a big mouth.

As for the "finally" cute baby, no one was offended. Said baby's daddy is a Sheldon/Sherlock, too, so we're used to it. We've discussed the probability that not everyone thinks our baby is as cute as we do.

Carina said...

Oh, but we do think he's as cute as you do. That's why it was particularly annoying that he said it. =) And I do suffer from exactly your affliction, it's Z who doesn't. =)

Anonymous said...

Well, the mortification that it causes you notwithstanding, it makes a wonderful story for other great aunts to read. I just sat here and had a nice long laugh.

Auntie M

aftergrace said...

Well, I gigled throughout this whole post-my problem was the opposite with Ren and Alli. They would not talk to anyone. In fact, I think most people thought they were mute. I used to tease and say they were Mimes in training. I love your kiddos-they are such a treasure.

Anonymous said...

In defense of Zaya, he did remember I was his great Aunt - just couldn't think of my name,LOL!

Other Auntie M

Chandelle said...

I also loved this post, and have the problem with caring overly much and talking on. Loved your last paragraph - true. Your children are loved.