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I was talking with some friends the other day about our kids.
One of them asked, "How do I know if my son is spirited?" I stifled a chuckle.
If you have to ask if your child is spirited, he probably isn't. But just in
case you're still wondering, here are some signs that your child just might be
You're still waiting for the Terrible Threes to pass, and your
daughter is 10. She was a "High Needs Baby," and the only part she outgrew was
2. You have a support
You're on a first-name basis with the social worker at your son's
school, and his teacher has you on speed dial. You've been considering a
therapist for him since he was 4. And, you may have once Googled "gypsies"
in hope of finding a nice band to purchase your wild child.
3. People drop 'helpful hints'
people at the playground sidle up to you and ask, "Have you read that book, you
know, 'The Highly Sensitive Weird Kid Who
Only Wears Grey and Won't Eat Food That's Not Beige?'" And then they say, "I'm not saying that describes your kid or anything," in attempt to backtrack as your prickly daughter runs up to you, clad head-to-toe in grey, and asks if you brought Cheerios.
Your child has no 'medium' setting. Whatever he's feeling, he feels it with his whole body and soul.
not sleeping through the night yet, though she's in elementary school. She's up
at dawn and makes sure everybody else in the household is, too.
you feel completely inept at parenting your particular child, and it moves you
6. Tears, part II
times you know in a deep, still place that you are exactly the right parent for
your particular child, and that moves
you to tears.
7. The things people say
Diplomatic people describe your son as determined, intense or
spirited. Undiplomatic people ask, "Have you considered corporal punishment?"
8. The boundless energy
daughter is like a wind-up toy that is always wound up. You sometimes stay up late
wondering if you could invent a way of transferring some of her energy to you,
leaving her limp and lazy while you perkily tackle your to-do list. While you
wait for the technology to transfer human-to-human energy to become available,
you settle for All the Coffee so you can keep up with your girl.
9. Intensity—for your kid
Your child has no 'medium' setting. Whatever he's feeling, he feels it
with his whole body and soul. If he's happy, he's Disneyland on crack happy.
And if he's pissed? The whole neighborhood knows. And maybe even the next town
This kid stirs the deepest wells of worry within you and the warmest waves of
pride. Some nights, after a hard day with your son, you worry that you should
be saving money for bail instead of college. Other nights, he squeezes you
tight at bedtime. As you say goodnight, you catch the love gleaming in his eyes even in the darkness
of his room, and you sink down onto your own pillow and whisper thank you.