Is this a "spirited" child? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 07-06-2012, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was talking to my therapist today about some of the more challenging moments I had with DS over the holiday. She has known me since I was pregnant, and saw DS several times as a little baby. She recommended "Raising Your Spirited Child."

 

I'd love to read this, and have always thought DS was spirited (even in the womb!), but I've had others disagree with me, and say that's just how children are- namely DH who is averse to labels of any kind, esp, as he says, for a child this young.

 

Is there like a checklist or something somewhere I could look at? Does anyone know? This is my only child and so I have no comparison. But I have certainly felt like I've seen plenty of babies and kids his age (he is 13 months now) that are much more flexible and passive than he is. 

 

Here is the list of behaviours that make me think he is spirited:

 

1. He kicked often and HARD in the womb. The dog was once sitting on my leg, and DS kicked so hard the dog yelped b/c he got a foot to the face. No lie. He kicked so hard in the last month that I cried out in the night b/c it felt like his foot was coming through my throat.

 

2. He cried nearly constantly as a baby. He was never one of those children you could sit in a swing or bouncy chair and have him stare or coo or whatever. He was always demanding to be held, and not just held, but shown around. He would get bored of the scenery in one room so quickly and would not settle down unless we went to another room or went outside. If he could've lived in a pup tent in the backyard he probably wouldn't have screamed so often or for so long- he loved being outside and lost it when it was time to come in. Also, he never fussed. He was either silent or blowing the roof off the house. No grey area.

 

3. He has playmates that are his exact age that will sit on the floor and play quietly with a toy, or flip through a board book- one little girl will even color with chunky crayons. DS will not sit still for more than usually 2 minutes at a time. He is constantly exploring, moving, into this thing and that thing. Nothing escapes his notice. He cannot crawl past anything without looking, touching, tasting, throwing it. I feel like he wakes up, tears apart the house, then sleeps again, and that is his life.

 

4. He will not be deterred. We try that whole- hey, that double-A battery you managed to pry out of the tv remote is not a good toy, how about this age appropriate toy? And oh. hell. no. He wants that battery he needs that battery and zomg where are you taking the battery?!?! Also in this category is a recent incident in which he wanted the box of cheerios so he could pour it out all over the floor. I tried to compromise and meet his need to practice pouring out and putting in by giving him a small cup of cheerios. He grabbed it and whipped it at my head while he screamed. *sigh.

 

5. A few weeks ago I cried in front of him after my father got a scary medical diagnosis. He stared at me for a moment then threw himself into my chest and bawled. Saying "no" to him in a firm tone is like throwing gas on a fire- he flops on the floor, puts his forehead on the floor and screams into the linoleum. My point is that he's sensitive, I think.

 

Is this being a toddler or he is spirited? What do you think?


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#2 of 14 Old 07-06-2012, 08:49 AM
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It sounds like a bit of both.  Toddlers often run hot and cold like that, but what you are describing does sound more like it fits into the spirited realm. I haven't read the book, but many of my mama friends have, and do have spirited children, and this is often the kind of thing I hear from them.

 

As for reading the book - read it.  More knowledge never hurts, even if you never apply the label to kiddo outside your own head. :)


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#3 of 14 Old 07-06-2012, 02:18 PM
 
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I have that book, and I love it.  I feel like I have one spirited (and extroverted) child, and one very introverted child, who is not spirited. I feel like Raising your Spirited Child helped me see my children for what they are, and to make me aware of their little quirks.  It gave me a lot of parenting tools.  I say you should read it. smile.gif


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#4 of 14 Old 07-06-2012, 02:46 PM
 
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I agree a little bit of both. I see is as a spectrum, he not laid back but not an extremely spirited. Also don't compare genders, . Boys are often more active than girls.

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#5 of 14 Old 07-06-2012, 03:16 PM
 
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I'd read it, he may be spirited or he may not, but learning strategies and understanding him will only help.


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#6 of 14 Old 07-06-2012, 03:55 PM
 
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Well, it certainly sounds like he has some of the traits of a spirited child - intense, persistent, energetic, and sensitive.  My daughter definitely fits the description in terms of persistence, intensity, and adaptability.  She's also energetic in the sense that she never stays still - not that she really runs around all that much, but she's just always moving and fidgeting - it's hard to get her to stop moving at bedtime.  I've found the book an interesting read for understanding her better - particularly since I am strongly introverted, and she is an extrovert (my boyfriend is also a spirited extrovert, so they can both be a bit overwhelming at times:)  I also think that what may seem "spirited" for one parent may not be for another who is better matched to deal with that kind of temperament - so, if you feel like your son is spirited, I'd recommend reading it!  I do feel that some of the strategies in the book for coping with spiritedness are more suited for older children, but it is certainly useful information to keep in mind as they grow.  

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#7 of 14 Old 07-11-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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Partaria - your description matches my daughter to a T. She's 2 1/2 and so intense! But everything from the kicking in the womb, to the crying during infancy (zomg, we had to use the vacuum for white noise to calm her - those little noise machines they make to soothe babies were not enough!). And man, she's a climber...there is NO place she can't get to in the house. She does not sit and play "quietly", although oddly, she will sit and read to herself for 15 minutes or so in her bedroom when I'm showering or something. And she will pay attention for long stretches of time during bedtime stories - although she's constantly in motion - wiggling, rolling over, fidgeting with her hands. 

 

And the messes, oh the messes. Your cheerio story made me laugh out loud, because she MUST try things on her own. If I don't mop twice a day, my house is filthy.

 

I'm going to get that book, too! Sometimes, I worry I suck at parenting...mostly when I start compare her to our playmates that sit quietly and ask permission before they try to carry the gallon of milk out of the fridge (oh my). But she's truly a delight, and her bold personality has really injected this kind of magic into our house. We have a lot of fun as a family because of who she is.

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#8 of 14 Old 07-11-2012, 03:01 PM
 
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Sounds exactly like my high needs 19 mo. He cannot be distracted or redirected, won't accept help, and it's hard right now that he's in that monkey see monkey do phase - if he sees you doing something he MUST try, so simple things like stirring something on the stove becomes a major conflict. I see friends' kids able to play with a toy on the floor while they do dishes or sew or cook - that has never ever worked for us. He needs to be involved.

That book is on my list. The Sears Fussy Baby Book helped a lot when DS was younger.



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#9 of 14 Old 07-12-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by luckiest View Post

..... if he sees you doing something he MUST try, so simple things like stirring something on the stove becomes a major conflict.....

 

Yes! I found that giving her real pots and pans to play with satisfies her a little, as long as she has something "real" to put in them....I put aside some dry pasta and beans that she can play with. 

 

Also, we bought a sturdy step up stool for our kitchen which puts her right at counter height, so she can see everything. She's really good at peeling onions and garlic. 

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#10 of 14 Old 07-12-2012, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I just had to share this...

 

I left work for an hour today to take care of DS while DH was @ a doctor's appointment. It's really hot out so we went to Barnes and Noble to kill some time. They have a Lego playtable there just DS's height. So he stood there and played with the over-sized legos, and when it was time to go meet Daddy, I told him it was time to go, and to say bye bye to the Legos, and I started putting them back into this little cup in the table. DS not only freaked out and started screaming, he began desperately taking the legos out of the cup and trying to shove them in my purse. A salesperson walked by and just did a double-take and I wanted to say- I'm not trying to shoplift, I just have a toddler. Really. 


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#11 of 14 Old 07-12-2012, 06:15 PM
 
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Sounds like a bit of both. And it also sounds like my DD. When she would have to go in to the hospital for her heart stuff, I had to always request a private room because she would start crying if another baby started crying. Today, I gave her a banana unpeeled to carry in to her babysitter's house. When I then tried to take the banana to peel it, you would have thought I was killing her by the screams of protest. But there's never a dull day when she's around! love.gif
 


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#12 of 14 Old 07-12-2012, 07:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Partaria View Post

So I just had to share this...

 

I left work for an hour today to take care of DS while DH was @ a doctor's appointment. It's really hot out so we went to Barnes and Noble to kill some time. They have a Lego playtable there just DS's height. So he stood there and played with the over-sized legos, and when it was time to go meet Daddy, I told him it was time to go, and to say bye bye to the Legos, and I started putting them back into this little cup in the table. DS not only freaked out and started screaming, he began desperately taking the legos out of the cup and trying to shove them in my purse. A salesperson walked by and just did a double-take and I wanted to say- I'm not trying to shoplift, I just have a toddler. Really. 

I can see it now...winky.gif

 

We get around by bike a lot, and there is a lot of similar freaking out and screaming when it comes time to leave a place and put on the helmet. What I don't get is that 30 seconds after she's in the bike trailer, she's singing and saying "Wheee! I like the bike!"  Thanks a lot, kid, couldn't you have remembered that you like the bike before the crowd gathered because they thought I was kidnapping you? orngtongue.gif

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#13 of 14 Old 07-12-2012, 08:53 PM
 
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Sounds a LOT like my daughter.  We've always just called her "intense".  But really, she was a high needs baby, and she's a spirited kid. She's also probably gifted.  I've never read that book, but probably should.  We just pretty much roll with what we can, set limits where we need to, and accept that things are just done BIG around here.  We're all kind of dramatic in this house, so she's just a little MORE than the rest of us - a litte more everything.  ;)  <3


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#14 of 14 Old 07-12-2012, 08:56 PM
 
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Yes, he sounds spirited! I have one, too. Never a dull moment.
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