Being Shy

What does it mean to be shy? Jeff and I talk about it. I think it's one of the most non-descriptive words in the English language. What does it really mean? I use it to say that I'm shy, and Jeff uses it to say he is, but really we're not shy. We're certainly not the most outgoing people, neither one of us is good at "small talk," and each of us takes a l-o-n-g time to get to know people, but shy isn't the right word. And now we have a child ('A') who exhibits somewhat similar qualities.

I can't speak for Jeff, but I can speak for myself. I watch 'A' and some of it seems so familiar. I need a lot of time alone to process things. When I was working full-time and I had a day full of meetings and projects and little tasks, I was happiest when the meetings were broken up with some alone time so I could digest one meeting and mentally prepare for the next. Sometimes that meant I would eat lunch alone or want to work on something alone, but that didn't make me shy. When I meet someone new, I prefer to get to know them little bit by little bit over a long time with breaks in between contact. Sometimes that means I don't reach out all that much, but that doesn't make me shy either. I think it means I'm a private person, for lack of a better phrase.

I watch 'A' at home and out in social situations. When we're out, she never fails to take time away from the other kids to sit alone and read or look out a window for 10 minutes. When I ask her if she's okay or needs anything, she says she's just having some alone time. When she rejoins the kids, she'll hover on the outskirts for a little bit and then join in. At home she's completely different. She's comfortable here, comfortable with me, Jeff and 'H'. She's got an active imagination and loves to make up games to play. She doesn't stop talking... at all! And she rarely takes breaks to have "alone time."

She's shy with adults, and that's something I want to work on with her. But the rest is just her personality and I think it's okay.

I think about all of this every once in a while. As I get to know my children better, I'm challenged to get to know myself better too.

Speaking of 'A', she's a natural gardener and it's been a lot of fun to get to know this side of her. She's got a nice mix of Jeff's "need to know" ("What is this plant called..." for example) mixed in with my need to dig my hands into the ground and rub the plant leaves until I can smell them. Her new thing, besides deadheading all the flowers (what a great helper!) is writing the names of things on little stones and putting them in the gardens. I did this recently to label the vegetables and some of the herbs. She made up a bunch on her own today. Some have her name on them ("So the plants will know my name...") and some have assorted letters and markings that mean nothing to me but to her they say "Coral Bells," "Roses," and "Hosta."

We found a big, big toad today quite by accident. I was bundling up a pile of sticks that had been sitting along the edge of the yard for a few weeks and I felt something wet in my hands. This should be a lesson for me about wearing gloves while I do yard work. I put down the sticks and lo and behold, there was this gigantic toad who was upset because I had just taken down his big, dark, damp house. We watched him for a while and he barely moved. I suggested that I construct a little house for him to which Jeff said, "He lives in the woods. I think he'll be okay." So no new house for Mr. Toad.

'A' took these two photos. We fixed a few screens today and did a lot of yard work. Later in the afternoon we went to Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs for the Arts and Blues Festival. There was a lot of music on the street. It's such a treat for us to hear good, free music with our kids at a reasonable time of day (it was 5 pm when we went). We saw a guy who makes art out of forks. Very cool!


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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!