S is for Sharing
It has been a while since I updated my A-Z series. ‘S ‘gives me a wealth of options. Sensory. Spectrummy. Science. Smart. Siblings. Special. Safe. Stigma. Shame. In one way or another, I’ve touched on all these topics. And I’m not done yet, I could go on. But most days, I wonder if I should. Is 484 posts enough sharing?
Our personal lives are so intimate, the rest of the world can be so judgmental. What right do I have to try to understand and explain somebody else’s neurology?
As Pudding grows and develops, she is expressing more of herself, and I relish every morsel that she shares with us. It reminds me of falling in love, every day.
Yesterday my kids begged me for treats after dinner. I guess I’m a sucker (I could do a whole ‘S’ post on how I’m that word!) and Daddy was working late, so I surrended (yep, that would be an ‘S’ post for me too).
Cubby wolfed down his treat in seconds. Pudding decided to savour hers. I was reminded of myself at her age, perhaps even myself now. She took each chocolate and rolled it around in her hands. She smelled it, she tasted it. She held it in her mouth, moving it around to draw out every bit of flavour before eventually swallowing.
Sometimes she too will race through an experience like Cubby. Other times she will dwell far longer in the moment, extracting every detail and reveling in all her senses.
I remember being a little girl and eating the same sweets, and feeling the contrast of the crispy candy shell and the smooth chocolate inside. I remember how my hands would stain with colour from rolling them around in my palms. I remember being just like her, at times.
I also remember having brothers who would have eaten their share long before me. Cubby was in this position now. He’d finished all his, without sharing, and wanted hers. I watched what happened.
Unlike my brothers, who were older and bigger than me, Cubby is at a distinct physical disadvantage when it comes to his big sister. He can’t force her to give them to her, and she can certainly retaliate if he takes them from her.
A year ago, Cubby wouldn’t have realized this. For him sharing would have meant taking what he wanted. I’d have to hover constantly to make sure that Pudding’s swift justice wasn’t too brutal. Pudding had to learn that her sibling (and by extension, other children) would take things that belonged to her. It compromised her sense of fairness, one that the rest of the world doesn’t seem to employ.
Cubby certainly doesn’t. He knows he had his share of the treats. Now he is a cunning predator who knows how to manipulate his sister into sharing some of hers.
He uses Pudding’s sense of fair play against her, reminding her that “it is nice to share” and that he doesn’t have any and she has lots. It works, and she divides them up, reminding her brother to say thank you, before letting him know he is welcome.
There are lessons learned as these siblings interact which I couldn’t begin to teach on my own. I wonder if Pudding will learn that her brother is tricking her- applying rules that he doesn’t obey himself. I wonder if she’ll learn one day to apply rules in certain situations only when it suits her. Like her younger brother.
I remember when I was 16, and it was the first day of my English class in 6th form college. I had a bag of cookies, and offered them to my new friends, sitting on either side of me, as social convention dictates. Then, knowing that it wasn’t expected in an English classroom of strangers, I went around the rest of the class and offered them a share too. I got more questioning looks than people taking me up on a cookie. It seemed ridiculous at the time, and is still does now. All of us too stifled by unwritten rules that we’d all forgotten that it is nice to share, and even nicer to get an unexpected treat!
I wonder if she’ll learn the rules, and mostly follow them, but at times be so sick of unnecessary convention that she breaks them just because she can. I wonder if she’ll feel stifled by expected behavior, and revel in mixing things up, in her own little way.
Then I think about her staying just as she is. This delightful little soul with her uncompromising sense of justice and fair play is exactly what she is supposed to be, and what a world it would be if there were more like her.
Ultimately, I hope she’ll share herself, just as she is, with the whole world, instead of trying endlessly to fit in with what is expected. I know those are the times when I really feel like I’m sharing myself.
I’m writing about sharing, because just as I share these stories about my children, I’m always sharing something of myself too. The more I try to understand and explain my child’s neurology, the more I understand of myself. I just can’t do that any other way.
And it is nice to share, just don’t expect me to give up any of my imported Galaxy chocolate!
This post is part of my A-Z series. You can read the rest by clicking >here<.
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