I'll admit it. I label my kids. I was also labeled as a kid. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe it's both. But it's really hard not to label my kids, and some of the other kids they are in contact with.
I was always the "smart kid". From an early age, I was at the top of the learning curve. By 1, I knew over 200 words. By 2, I memorized poems and could recite the Pledge of Allegiance. By 3, I was writing and illustrating my own stories. In school, teachers always expected a lot of me. And they got it from my work. But I was also the "shy kid" to teachers. I would never raise my hand in class. I never jumped into a conversation. I didn't do well in groups (unless I did all the work and everyone else left me alone).
It was also a lot of pressure. If I didn't do well on something, I felt really bad about it. I had a hard time in 10th grade math and it was the only time I ever failed anything. I remember being humiliated that I only got a 510 on my French SAT II.
Overall, I think it helped me achieve all I could in school. I held myself to a high standard because people looked at me as the "smart kid" and I didn't want to let them, or myself, down. And, well, I've always been shy and I always will be. I'm slightly more assertive now, but only when I need to be. It is what it is.
I do label my kids. T is complicated. He's kind of my "problem child," even though I feel really mean saying that. It's not his fault. He has the speech problems and it affects his behavior. He throws bunches of tantrums every day. He hits and kicks me when he's frustrated. He punched the baby in the kidneys tonight because I told him he had to either wait until my show was over to watch his DVD or go watch it downstairs. He's unpredictable-one second he will be lovey and cuddly, then all of a sudden something sets him off and he's screaming, throwing things, hurting people.
When he is behaving, he is the sweetest kid you'll ever meet. He's always asking questions about everything. He loves posing for the camera. He shares his toys with the other kids. Adults love him because he is adorable and warms up to everyone right away. He cuddles with me at night and, since school has started, he's been sleeping at the foot of my bed with his dragon Happy Napper. I adore him.
Princess is my "drama queen" and "Daddy's little girl". She already has Daddy wrapped around her little finger and can anything she wants from him, usually by throwing a tantrum. I ignore her. I'm sure she thinks I'm mean because I don't cater to her every whim like her dad. She will scream and cry and bang her head on the floor to command total attention from Daddy. Oh, and she's jealous too. She'll throw a tantrum if he pays attention to the other kids or me.
When she's just with me and Daddy's not around, she's a little angel. She is so well behaved. I can take her to the store or to run errands and she is perfect. She's the only one of my children who I can take to a restaurant. It's like she has two totally different personalities depending on who she's with.
The there's Goober. I really don't have a label for him, but I can tell you that I spoil him. He is my little baby and in my eyes, he can do no wrong. I probably spend more time with him than I do with the other kids. I love having him with me, and I hog him. His grandparents really don't spend time with him and he's never spent a night with them like the older kids. In fact, I've only spent one night not sleeping in a bed with him since he was born.
If I could predict it, I think Goober will either become the "spoiled brat" or the "Mama's boy." Both of those labels are okay with me. I love my kids. They are my life. I don't have friends I go out with, I don't have any hobbies. I'm home all day, every day with my babies. I love all the ins and outs of their personalities, even the not so good parts. So I don't mind labeling them. I'm sure their labels with change as they grow up. But one label won't change-I will always label all my kids my "baby," long after they're grown up.
This post was written in response to a prompt from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. I chose 5.) What’s your stance on ‘labeling’? Were you labeled as a child? Have you labeled your own children? How do you feel about this?