Each of us are born with a few set personality traits. As we grow, we can foster certain traits or lose certain traits or lean new traits . . . but some of us are just born "that way" . . .
This has become especially apparent in my girls . . . they were both born at the same hospital to the same mom and dad . . . and yet so much is different. For example: Blue Beauty (our Beta Fish) died a week ago . . . Travis discovered the tragedy and we spoke as parents as to how to break the news to Haley (it was, after all, her fish - and she took great pride it taking good care of it.)
We discussed how and when to tell her about it, if and when we should "take care of it" and if we should dispose of the evidence before we told her or let her see the proof. We decided she'd need to see it to believe it . . . as I was helping her put on her PJ's that night, I thought it'd be a good quiet moment to share the news. I gently told her that the fish is not alive anymore (he can't swim or eat) and that I felt sad our fish was dead . . . she responded with a contemplative "huh" then she paused for less than 10 seconds before she asked "Can I touch it?!"
Can I touch it?! What?! Totally not the emotional response I was expecting . . . not a tear was shed nor a question asked . . . it was black and white . . fish dead . . . sounds interesting . . . how can I experience this even more . . . and that's Haley . . . she's matter of fact . . . cut and dry . . . and she is very interested in all things buggy and squirmy and dirty . . .
Yesterday, after we met Hannah at the bus stop, we discovered a small garden snake in our garage (probably trying to seek refuge from the increasingly cold temperatures). Hannah squirmed away from it and checked it out from a distance . . . Haley jumped right in and picked it up. Personally, I tended to feel more of Hannah's response but realized I couldn't over-react as I didn't want to pass on my anxiety about the creature Haley was so fascinated by . . . and I realized, isn't that one of the more interesting and challenging jobs as a mom? How do we encourage the broad range of personalities in our children without bending them towards ours? I'm learning sometimes it's letting them pick up the snake . . . and sometimes not cracking up when they ask it they can touch their dead fish . . .