Alex has become quite the entertainer and attention seeker. As a result, the most popular phrases in my house lately are, “Look at me!” and “Watch this!” Only he says “wook” and “dis.” It was bound to happen; he needed a way to be recognized apart from Andrew. Of course, this has now added a whole new layer of competition to their relationship. They each strive to become faster, louder and funnier.
When these moments happen, a good parent stops what they are doing, feigns interest in said activity, smiles politely and makes a comment: “Good job!” “Wow!” “How cool!” A better parent looks up from whatever they are doing, is genuinely interested in the twirling jump or fire fighter rescue and asks engaging questions: “Can you twirl in the other direction?” “Did everyone get out safely?”
I have done both. And I’m sure, you have too. It’s OK. These “Look at me!” moments can get a bit overwhelming. Our children don’t understand we have other things that we need to get done around the house. I haven’t yet tried to explain to Jim that I couldn’t get the laundry done because I was watching the boys’ tricks all day. Maybe I should try it. But somehow, “Look at me! I’m making dinner! I’m mopping the floor! I’m scrubbing the toilet!” don’t sound as appealing.
What I wonder, then, is when do we lose this fearless “Look at me” attitude. Sure, there are actors, performers and professional athletes who love the limelight, but the majority of us regular folks would rather go unnoticed. Why is that? Fear? Lack of confidence? Modesty?
It’s too bad. Each of us has some hidden talent, some special ability that deserves sharing. So try it! Even if it’s only among your immediate family and closest family. Tell someone, “Look at me!” Make them notice how important and talented you are.
And then you can go back to scrubbing the toilets. J