Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fit In

To my son Tommy,

When it comes to your older cousins, you are the annoying little one who so desperately tries to fit in. If they like something, you like it too. If they play a game on the ipad, you come home and beg for that game so you can join in. If they watch a show, you say you want to watch it to, though often, with just me and your mommy around, you quickly ask to switch to something else that you probably don't broadcast that you like.

Your older cousins are at the age where they don't quite appreciate you emulating them. They tolerate your multitude of questions, mostly because your aunts and uncles ask them too, but really just want to say "you are too young for this" and play without interruption. This seems natural for that age or the age difference between you guys and you might even fall into a "kid brother" like category if a psychologist were evaluating this. But you remain undaunted.

The latest craze is Minecraft. Gabe and Ryan are really into this game. You begged me for this game on the ipad. For five bucks, I balked at first as I figured it was too complicated for your mindset and thought you could just learn watching or playing on your cousins' tablets. Surprisingly, you took my denial really well and would explain, "Oh, Daddy said it was too expensive. Can I play on yours?" whenever you were asked by one of the cousins if you had it yet. Finally I broke down and got you the game and tonight when we were up for Uncle Rob and Pop-pop's birthday celebration, you were in hog heaven.

You had no idea what you were doing (I even played for a bit and often had no idea what I was doing) but you were in there. You were sitting in the living room seemingly running around in circles in this game and seemed to be dead set on attacking a sheep or a chicken. When the sun would go down, your cousins would be forced to help you find a bed so they could get through the night and healed up again quickly. It warmed my heart.

Listen, your cousins and you will probably always have this little dynamic. I am a big believer in letting kids sort most of this stuff out on their own, with just a little supervision. I will step in if there is too much disrespect or anger, but, for the most part, I still see love in the interactions...even if those interactions are filled with eye rolling annoying questions from the five year old in the group. And through these interactions you are learning valuable skills and techniques. If you can't negotiate and compromise and get along with those you love and who love you back...well it won't get easier as you get older. When you and I talk, and I explain how it is okay not to fit in, you seem to already understand that. We had that discussion right before I bought you the game. After giving the "march to the beat of your own drum speech", I asked you why you wanted the game. I asked you was it for you or for them. You said, "Both. Because if I have the game we can play together. And I love playing with them, Daddy, whatever game we are playing."

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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