I have always been an introvert. For as long as I can remember it has been difficult for me to be in groups and large social settings. Throughout my life I have learned how to deal with being introverted… that is until my son was born.
My son is the definition of an extrovert, and he’s only a year and a half old. While sometimes I attribute his behavior to being normal and toddler-like, I know that perhaps this behavior is really indicative of who he will be going forward. My son goes to nursery school, and I often hear about his outgoing tendencies. My reports home often include reflections of his day including how he prefers to sit in groups, enjoys playing with much older kids, is a daredevil and loves to climb; he is fearless.
When we are out and about, my son pushes me out of my comfort zone constantly. He, (unlike how I was) very regularly runs up to other families and says “HI!” and waits for interaction. Sometimes while at the park, he goes and sits with other moms and tries to get them to laugh at his jokes. He plays up his cuteness in our group mommy and me events and wants to sit at the very front, when I would much prefer the edges of the room. He holds other children’s hands with open trust and affection.
One of my favorite memories in my son’s life so far has been when we were both startled and he put his hand on my chest and stepped in front of me. It was in this moment that I saw a little boy, not a baby. I saw that this extroverted behavior trait in him was so uniquely different than who I am, as an introverted parent.
While I know there might be a time stamp on this outgoing and extroverted behavior of his, I wish it would last forever. There has always been a mystery and magic to the world of the outgoing personality … the lack of self-consciousness. Parts of me are fascinated with his confidence and maybe even a bit jealous of his ease in making friends and the happiness that comes from his recharged batteries in group settings. Parts of me love to watch him dance like no one is watching in his dance classes, and giggle with no care in the world with a group of children much older than him. And while I don’t want to pigeonhole him into encouraging this one type of behavior, it certainly has been an absolute privilege to parent a child who teaches me joy in watching him develop into the beautiful person he is becoming. Parenting an extrovert as an introvert is difficult and challenging, but we are learning how to do it together.