My sensitive child

Zachary worries me sometimes.

He really does. And I don't know whether it's because he's "unique" (as yet undiagnosed for anything) or whether it's because he's just a very sensitive child, but he worries me nonetheless.

For Christmas, my boys got the book Charlottes Web from their Grandma and Grandpa. It was one of my favorite books as a little girl. I had a copy of it that I would read over and over and over. I grew up on a pseudo farm and was so much happier to be with the animals who loved unconditionally than people sometimes, so I really felt I related to Fern. (side note: My mom wrote in the front of the book : Merry Christmas Zachary and Lucas. I hope you enjoy this book as much as your mom did as a little girl.)

So, soon after Christmas we started reading the book to them. I started it since I was on vacation, and I loved the book, and then when I went back to work, Chuck took over reading a chapter a night before bed. And sometimes they got the book at naptime too, if they were good in settling down. As I said, I know this book. I knew Charlotte died. (sorry for anyone who's never read it, I just ruined the near-ending!) But I didn't think about it being an issue for my boys.

My boys watch movies that most children don't. They've seen all the Harry Potters. They've watched Lord of the Rings with us. They know about death.

So I was completely unprepared last night when Chuck informed me that Zachary was having a difficult time with going to bed BECAUSE Charlotte died. That he was sooo distraught by this. Charlotte died in the story on Tuesday night. Wednesday I *thought* that Zachary was being unusually needy. Unusually sentimental and loving. (He has always been a very loving child and tells me numerous times "I love you, did you know that?") But numerous as in a week, not in a DAY! Now, I'm not complaining because I love hugs and kisses and being told I love you....what mom wouldn't?

But, when I found out that the underlying issue on Thursday is that he's afraid daddy and I are going to die and leave him it concerned me. And why this book in particular? Why did Charlotte affect him so profoundly? It took him about 2 hours to fall asleep Thursday night. And numerous trips by Daddy back into his room to reassure him that he was still here.

He and I talked about it again today. I explained that Daddy and I would be around for a LONG time and that we weren't planning on leaving him. He said not till I'm your age? I said "Shessh, Zachary, I hope even older!!!"

His sentimental, sensitive side is going to be a downfall for me for years to come. I can already see it....he comes home after his first girlfriend dumps him...just crushed. And I'm going to cry with him. I'm going to hate her as much, if not more, than he does. *sigh* How did my mom do it with me?


mom of 2 said...

My son is the same way. Our kids have also watched those movies. Sometimes when a story is sentimental and emotional like that he'll get the same way. Last Feb we had 2 deaths in our family within 2 weeks and and around Easter time at church they were learning about Jesus and about his death. He got so freaked out and thought that we were going to die. One night when I was putting him to bed he said his usual good night mom, then he said "hope you don't die tomorrow." So out of the blue!

Hannah said...

OMG Lisa, I think Zachary & Ethan are twins!! They just seem SO similar in many ways!
Ethan is an extremely sensitive child. I was too (and I still am now). Because we are so similar, I'm really aware of his feelings about things but DH finds it harder to accept that Ethan is so sensitive about things.
I read Charlotte's Web to Ethan about a year ago, a chapter each night. He cried when Charlotte died. A LOT. He's since seen the movie and since he knew the story, he was okay. But lots of similar things can upset him.
We have had a few deaths in our family & church over the past year. Ethan understands death, but he often asks me questions like "when are you going to die?" and "when will it be the end of all the days?" ... he also says he doesn't want me to die and he gets really emotional about it. I find it hard to say "I'm not going to die" because what if I do?? He's experienced the death of Rob's stepbrother, age 37. He knows that people can die before they are old.
I worry about Ethan too. I worry that he will find things difficult at school and in adolescence because of his sensitive nature. It is a bit different with boys I think. They are "expected" to be tough and not to cry. I don't agree with that, but in the same breath I don't want him to be totally distraught about failing an exam, being dumped by a girlfriend, having an accident or being reprimanded by a teacher. I hope he'll be able to handle things as he grows older. I've found that talking about his feelings does help, so maybe by the time he's dealing with bigger issues he will have found a good way to express his emotions without letting things really get to him. I can only hope.


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