Introverted

I’ve been reading some parenting books lately.  Not because Elizabeth is any more difficult than usual, just because I was kind of in the mood.  Plus, I keep hearing all these things about Three and we are rapidly approaching December 3rd.

Anyway, one of the books I’m reading is called Raising Your Spirited Child.  (And yes, I do think Elizabeth falls into that ten percent of children, the kind that dive head first off the couch.  And not just dive head first off the couch, but dive head first off the couch, then stand on the table and jump off, then climb up the outside of the stairs, and then get a pile of books and start building a tower to try and reach the ceiling fan.)  One of the topics it covers at the beginning is whether your child is an introvert or an extrovert.

I asked Matt whether he thought I was an introvert or an extrovert.  He thought about it for a minute and decided that I am an introvert, but one who has learned quite well to “compensate” for that.  (I put compensate in quotation marks because I don’t think there is anything wrong with being an introvert and it’s not like you have to learn to “overcome” it.  Ooh, look, more quotation marks.)

When I asked him, I was thinking about the post I wrote the other day about alone time while being a stay at home mother.  And I was thinking that my feelings about that meant that I had to be an extrovert.  But I think Matt’s totally correct.  I do like being around other people.  But they have to be people I know and people that I am comfortable with.  When I go to things with strangers, I can do it, but I don’t like it.  And I kind of heave a huge sigh of relief when we leave because it is hard work.  I’ve had to teach myself to be the first person to speak up and to be the conversation starter because we move so often, and if I don’t do it, I tend to get forgotten and then I never meet anyone.  (And then I’d be sad and friendless at home.)  For example, when we first moved here and I didn’t know anyone yet, I took Elizabeth to story time at the library.  But I didn’t count that towards not-alone time because it was hard work for me.  I did it for her, not for my socialization.

I love having friends over.  I absolutely do*.  But as soon as everyone leaves, I go straight to my computer.  I leave cleaning up and putting away for an hour or so, until I’ve read some blogs and checked some emails and looked at Twitter.  I’ve always thought that is my lazy side coming out.  But today, when my internet was broken and there was no new content for me to consume, I went to the computer anyway and thought “well, NOW what am I supposed to do?”  (I ended up reading for a while.)  I think my internet addiction is where I get my alone time to recharge and re-center myself.  My ideal day is when we do something fun with friends and then I have some time to look at the internet.  If we are busy all day and I just have time to get home and do the housework, I feel frantic somehow.

So I’ve decided that I am an introvert with extrovert leanings.  I like people, but I like them to be MY people.

For the record, I think I’ve decided that Elizabeth is the same way.  That is part of the reason that she has such trouble with strangers and new locations and why her behavior starts to deteriorate when we’ve been somewhere too long.  She just has so much patience with people being in her space and when her introvert overcomes her spirited side, she starts to lose it.  I also think that her spirit is what gives her so much patience to overcome her introvert.  Being outside with friends or at a friend’s house with new toys feeds her spirited side so much that it takes a while for her introvert to take over her behavior.

The next thing I asked Matt was whether he was an introvert or an extrovert.  Then we both enjoyed a hearty laugh.  Those of you who know him may pause to laugh now too.  (For those of you who don’t know him, let’s just say: introvert.)

*Shout out!  Eloise reference!  And yes, I realize that very few of you read as much Eloise as we do here.  Sigh.  At least Maria will get it.