Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Scarlet O

A few weeks ago, Liam's teacher pulled me aside with the dreaded "Do you have a minute?" She continued that she was concerned that Liam was not sharing well at school. He even hit another boy over a book. Mortified, we left with promises to improve. To be honest, it never crossed my mind to share toys with Liam at home. I certainly didn't care if I had a turn with his Thomas toys. I called Mike in tears on the way home, certain that I had broken the child before his second birthday. When we arrived home, I decided to try this sharing thing and see how Liam fared. Usually, I let him hit the wiffle ball on the T for as long as he wanted. I didn't want a turn. He was less than thrilled when I asked for a turn and tried to take the wiffle bat.

I sent a picture to Mike with the comment "I guess this is what daycare is talking about."

This marked the beginning of "Sharing Bootcamp." It seemed Liam could have nothing he loved for more than three minutes without being asked to hand it over for a minute/bite/sip/turn. Gradually, Liam came around to the joys of sharing. His teachers are noticing a difference as well.

Throughout "Sharing Bootcamp," I was told several times that part of Liam's issue with sharing may come from him being an only child. Mike and I do a lot with him. With have memberships to the zoo and aquarium. We are on constant adventures. Liam rarely watched TV during the week. However, he does these activities with Mike and I. Our parents are out of state. Kristy comes down when she can. A few of our friends just had children of their own but most do not and the gap between us grows bigger daily. Besides daycare, Mike and I are Liam's socialization. I started taking him to the library one afternoon a week for socialization. We spend another afternoon each week at a music class. Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App Some days he gets into the music
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Other times he just wants to color.

How do we remove this stigma of the Scarlet O from Liam as well as Mike and I? At work, I have several ladies who remind me weekly that Liam will grow up ill adjusted because Mike and I are too selfish to have another child. "You can make it work if you really want to," they tell me.

This is the truth. We could. I'd have to give up my career because daycare for two in this area would eat most of my paycheck. In this economy, it would be impossible to get rehired. Who wants to hire a ninth step teacher when there are thousands of freshly graduated first and second step options available? I worked hard to earn my degree and establish myself as a teacher. I enjoy teaching.

Why does one have to justify these decisions? As I cried to Mike that I had broken our kid, I asked him if we were selfish for having one. Am I selfish for wanting a 401K and a Keurig?

As Liam gets older, I get a little nostalgic about the baby days ending. Over the summer, my hormones started going AWOL. A few doctor visits and tests suggested that I needed to go back on the pill to level things out. Having another child just got much more difficult. Maybe this was a sign that we are fine just the way we are. In the meantime, I need to ignore that Scarlet O that some are trying to stitch on Liam's chest. I'm sure another form of Momma Guilt will grow in its place.