My family claims I treat Alex differently than I treat Courtney and Tom. They also claim I treat Alex differently than John treats Alex. I have taken these comments to heart, and first assuring myself they are not criticism ,taken a look at my behaviors.
Although I hate to admit it, I think my family may be correct. And that is a qualified maybe, because I know in my heart I treat all my children differently. I try to encourage their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. In my eyes my kids are perfect, and that will never change.
I guess at the bottom of this behavior is the fact that Alex has different weaknesses than my other kids. She does not speak as clearly, is not as independent, looks a little different and is overweight. These are not bad things by any means, but still I find myself compensating for Alex; something that should not be and is not necessary.
For example, often I find myself speaking for Alex. When she is asked a question and hesitates to answer, I answer for her. This is an awful habit, as Alex is merely using the silence to formulate her response in her mind. This has created a cycle where she expects me to answer for her. This does not happen with John; he will not answer for her, which forces her to respond. Obviously, I cannot go on like this for the rest of her life; this is a habit I must break.
As far as her independence, I believe I have gotten a little better; I allow Alex to go to the bathroom by herself in public places. She can buy her own movie tickets, food from vendors and ask for directions. I encourage this and remind myself she is 17 and should be doing this. Perhaps I waited a few years longer than John to allow her this independence, but I have mastered this behavior. Alex is proud of her ability to do things herself, and often insists.
In terms of Alex’s physical appearance, she is beautiful and nothing will ever convince me otherwise. I do not like the way she dresses or her flat our refusal to wear make-up or jewelry. Call me old fashioned, but I like it when girls look feminine and accentuate their looks. However, I was the ultimate tom boy growing up, so I can see where Alex is coming from, and despite my constant pleadings I respect her appearance. John leaves her alone recognizing when the time comes she will change. I am hopeful he is right.
Weight; the ultimate challenge, the bane of our existence and the only serious problem we have with Alex. Once again, John and I treat Alex differently on this issue. I will go on record as saying John is MUCH better about the food consumption than I. Alex can whine, beg and plead for second helpings, or dessert, and sometimes I give in. John does not. I am a sucker for tears, and promises of “healthy eating”; yet am disappointed again and again over the power of food to Alex. She cannot help herself to overeat and I know I cannot be an enabler. This is another habit I must break.
It’s true; I treat Alex differently than I treat Courtney and Tom and differently than John treats Alex. Alex is, and will always be, my special child, the daughter I never knew I would have, the magic I never envisioned and the joy I never knew existed. I feel the same about all three of my children, but can’t a Mom be a little overprotective sometimes?