Tuesday, March 25, 2008

He Is Not Me

According to experts on child development, Chamudi is at the age where he is beginning to understand that he is not me--that he is his own person with wants and needs separate to mine.

What's surprising for me is the many ways in which I, too, am learning this important lesson.

Case in point: Chamudi loves slides. The higher the better. Twisty? No problem. He is also an incorrigible climber. In short: he is a thrill seeker.

I, on the other hand, am a scaredy-cat. I have never been on a water slide, never gone on a roller coaster, never jumped off the high diving board. Never dived off anything, for that matter. I am a thrill-escaper.

I've made peace with this part of my personality, and I no longer feel bad about it. When I was a kid, though, my reluctance to seek fast-paced fun often made me feel less-than. And when I think of these things--feats of danger that nobody has suggested I try for over a decade--I still get a little nervous.

But one of the nicer parts of adulthood--at least for me--is that your coworker is rarely going to pressure you to hang upside down from the monkey bars. And so I've avoided all of these scary things...until now.

Chamudi has a need for speed, and I'm going to have to learn to live with it. I can't--and won't--keep him off the slides and jungle gyms just because I find them scary. I need to realize that my perceived danger is totally disproportionate to the actual risk.

I'm trying. So far Abba has been the one to take Chamudi on the slides, reporting back on their gleeful escapades while I listen with grim terror. But the weather is getting warmer, and it won't be long before it's me out there with him.

I'm glad he's not a scaredy-cat. It will make a lot of things in his life easier, and it will open up a world of fun and excitement that I totally missed.

And I'll let Chamudi be himself, without projecting my fears onto him.

But please, Chamudi, don't make me go on the big roller coaster.

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