Inside: A simple tip to ensure our easygoing child still expresses what they are feeling, and is heard and understood.
Parenting an easygoing child can be, well, fairly easy.
Remember the Staples Easy Button? That iconic red button that represented how easy Staples would make your life as a business owner? One push of that button, and you would hear a comforting, “That was easy.”
If you’ve given birth to an easygoing, flexible child you will gleefully slap that Easy Button more often than not.
Not that all parenting isn’t easy…
What do easygoing kids look like?
They tend to wake up happy and ready to face the day. They are low-key and won’t impose their will on others. They are likeable and adapt well to new people and situations.
Here’s a snapshot into my Easygoing kid around 11-years-old:
- Sits through a 10 hour day in emerg, enduring 8 needles at the site of a bite mark to avoid rabies. End of day summary: “I had a lot of fun today, Mom. Just hanging out and getting to eat out for TWO meals.” Easy.
- Stuck in an all-night traffic jam from a collision after a marathon day at an amusement park. Fusses for a few minutes about being tired and thirsty and restless. At around midnight, looks up at me and says: “But enough about me, Mom. How are you doing?” Easy.
If you are blessed to parent a child woven from similar fabric, you’ll understand.
In a slightly quieter stage of parenting, I now have the luxury of reflection time. But it wasn’t always so. Many days were octopus-crazy-arms waving wildly. Today I remember when I almost didn’t hear what my flexible boy was telling me. And how I learned to do better…most days.
After having three kids in four years God knew I needed a large dose of easygoing in my life. And being a thirdborn guarantees you enrollment in Easygoing Bootcamp. Because Mom has to go to All the Places and older brothers need to do All the Things and your role as a thirdborn is to Just. Be. Flexible.
When is your nap? When the van is in motion. Will it be a long nap? Depends how far we have to drive. Will you have a baby book? 100% not likely.
If you have three children super close in age, and your arms are filled with groceries and diaper bags, hands up if you know you need at LEAST one easygoing child.
So God gave me this one.
A curly-haired delectable thirdborn.
I recall the exact moment I realized what an easygoing child I had.
He was three years old and we were househunting. A lot. Which could have been a disaster with a strong-willed child or even a plain old regular kid. But nothing was hard with my little sidekick. I would ask him to put his buckle on and he would DO IT (I’m looking at you…firstborn). He would even put his buckle and shoes on 17 times without complaint as we went in and out of homes all day.
Each home tour was a new adventure. A chance to look at other children’s toys and admire them from a distance. A change of scenery on a cloudy afternoon. No questions. No objections.
A big part of this child being easygoing was his ability to entertain himself. He would tell himself amusing stories. Or look out the window and just see things. See All the Things and Think All the Thoughts like an easygoing superhero.
Before you think I’m overly optimistic, Rylan did occasionally protest. But since I was so used to his compliant nature, I would catch myself brushing aside his ask and focusing on a less-easygoing child whose protest rang louder.
Squeaky wheel and all that.
Moms of Easys (let’s make that a thing, shall we?) may not need as much caffeine, but we may need epiphanies.
Our most easygoing child can be overlooked in chaotic parenting moments
On one particular day, Rylan wanted to bring a Thing in the van. And the Thing was in the basement and we already had our shoes on and were heading out the door in orchestrated chaos. I began launching into excuses that only an Easygoing Child might accept, when I caught sight of his little face.
I heard a sigh and saw a tear forming. My Easy kiddo was disappointed to his core.
And since guilt is a powerful motivator, I paused long enough to do what I should have done much sooner.
I crouched down and softly said, “Rylan. Is this really important to you?”
Basically I spoke his Easygoing Third born’s love language.
With big brown puppy eyes, he nodded so sweetly. And the gratitude on his face when I took my shoes off to get the Thing….#momwin.
~ Harvey Karp, The Happiest Toddler On The Block
Knowing your child’s temperament helps you know when to pamper and when to push.
Since then, this has become part of our vocabulary. Kind of like a secret club. If I am brushing off something that Rylan has asked about, he brings me back to a place of pausing.
By speaking these seven words he knows he has my full attention: “Mom. This is really important to me.”
And trying to make This happen, is my way of honouring this easygoing child’s uniqueness.
possible side effects
This parenting tool works really well for children who don’t usually make demands. Is it possible for a sibling to take advantage of this phrase and look for loopholes and angles? Watch for these red flags.
Mom- it’s really important to me to dress up like a ninja for church this morning. Here’s how I handled that one.
Mom – it’s really important to me to eat 2 pounds of chocolate before school. Um. Just no.
What about a ridiculous amount of screen time? Or an insanely late bedtime? I don’t think so.
But chances are, if you hear too many of these wild requests, they won’t be coming from your easygoing child. So there’s that.
Go hug your Easy. And thank them for making you not-crazy on a regular basis.
Lightly Frayed Parents: What place in the birth order is your most easygoing child? I have a guess…
For the HUMAN side of this kid, read this post about a winter tip.