a sensitive male


If you are a fan of the Louise Bates Ames series of books on youngsters (and if you’re not familiar, I recommend them), you know that Your Seven Year Old is subtitled: “Life in a Minor Key.” I do not have said book at my fingertips as I write, but it explains how, once the average child turns seven, they enter a moody, taciturn (and temporary) stage where they are certain they are getting the short end of any stick.

Connor will be seven in a month and three days. Yesterday evening, at the time of day when first-grade exhaustion usually makes him weepy for one reason or another, he came to me and said he needed markers and paper to “work on something private.” Off he went. Ten minutes later, he came and stuck this card in my hand:

and ran away to hide.

How cute! I thought. A little surprise for Mommy. Not sure why he didn’t sign it, but whatever. Then I open the card, and this is what it says inside:

I went looking for him through the house, and finally found him hiding in the corner of the kitchen, shoulders shaking with suppressed sobs. I scooped him up into my lap, and he cried to me, for several minutes, about how he does not “get the respect he deserves” in our household, and how I pay much more attention to his two younger siblings than I do to him, and that no one, ever, is nice to him.

I decided not to argue. I decided to just hug him and let him get it all out. I have to say, I was so very proud of him. I thought of how my husband lets me know when HE is not happy, by sulking for a week or three, and how much more productive it would be, and how much more receptive I would be, if he would just make me a little greeting card with sad faces saying so. If he didn’t wait for me to notice, based on his cranky behavior. This goes for me too. What if I made my husband a card with talking socks saying “We are sad when you leave us on the floor,” rather than picking a fight about it every month or so? Would that not be WAY more useful? Who can resist homemade sentiment and words with facial expressions?

I hope Connor is always like this. He is my sensitive one, I tell him, and always let him know that that is a wonderful thing. Now I just have to find a way to give him more attention this week, and while my babysitter is out sick. Hmm.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mollie November 4, 2009 at 9:20 pm

This is so heartbreakingly sweet. Also good advertising for those books: if you didn't know to expect this from a 7-year-old, wouldn't you be unnecessarily worried about it? I would.

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Laura November 4, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Great post, Amy. It's wonderful that you've created an atmosphere in which Connor felt free to share all of this with you.

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Roxane B. Salonen November 5, 2009 at 12:54 am

Amy, I have an almost-7-year-old son as well, and this card looks like one I've received from him, though it didn't have the "blue" cast to it. How wonderful that he could express himself to you in this way (a writer in the making perhaps?). He trusted that you MIGHT just respond, and you did. He will not forget this — it's a great platform you're setting for the future. My girls tend to write me notes when they're upset too and I'm always glad to read their inmost thoughts, even when they are to a similar tune, "You don't love me as much as the others," etc. Point is, as you said, it's communication, black and white, and it's a starting place. 🙂

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