Tuesday, January 28, 2014

She's An Introvert, Not A Malfunction

I pinned this a while ago because it reminded me of my daughter. I've known my daughter's an introvert. Not the kind of introvert that cries when you talk to her or the kind of introvert that can't leave the house. She's the kind of introvert that, well, (refer to the picture).

When it comes to socializing, things need to be on her terms and I can totally respect that. When does anyone enjoy being forced to be talkative and outgoing? 

Kids haven't learned to fake it yet, so they're honest.

She doesn't respond very well when put on the spot for a high five from a stranger (or people she knows really well, for that matter.) She doesn't like when people talk to her in a busy group setting (or a private, smaller scale situation, sometimes). She doesn't like being prodded for answers about what she's wearing or what she did yesterday (unless she's in a really good mood). 

I haven't known exactly how to respect her feelings and demeanor but also parent her to be a socially considerate person. I've been trying very hard to protect the shy person she is but instill manners.

"You can be shy but you still have to be nice."

The rule for dealing with people is that you have to say "Please, Thank you, Hello and Goodbye". 

That's the rule I came up with. I think it's a pretty good one. That way she has an understanding of being polite but she doesn't have to do more than is required.

But the rule has been suffering lately. Because what's a rule with no consequence? It  becomes merely a suggestion. And I'm not going to punish her for not being nice. I tried to go the alternate route and reward her every time she was polite but that only lasted a couple of weeks (at best). 

I hadn't thought much about it though. 
Because I can't tell you how many stories I have heard about how painfully shy I was as a child. I remember my grandma talking to me and I couldn't bear to look at her. I loved her and she was always so nice to me but if she talked to me I ignored her and wished and wished for the moment her attention would be elsewhere. 

I remember when friends of my parents would talk to me and ask me questions about school and I felt myself wind up tight - chin to chest, arms drawn in and eyes locked to the ground. I remember that almost longing feeling for the moment they stopped talking to me.
To this day extended family bring up the days where they all "knew better than to talk to me". That's not said in a mean way, it's just what it was. I was painfully shy of adults. 

So, when I entered parenthood, I knew there was a good chance that one of my kids was going to be a shy one.

So this is where I am right now, as the parent of an introvert. 
When she is put on the spot, she uncomfortably deals with it in the way she knows how - she avoids and ignores. It upsets me because I'm put in a weird spot. Do I put pressure on her to be friendly? Do I scold her? Explain her behavior to the other person? Shrug it off and act like it's no big deal? I do all of those things.

The problem is I feel like the world has become much wore welcoming and understanding of introverts but not really of introverted children.

I believe America's favorite pastime is to blame for that.
No, not baseball.
Parent wars.

I believe this because about half of the time, people respond to Bella's shyness (or flat out stink eye) with comments that aren't the most well meaning. Nothing flat out mean, usually. But remarks that make it sound like she's doing something wrong.

There's not a lot of understanding extended to her when she hides or ignores someone's hello. The last time the checkout lady asked Bella how old she was and Bella furrowed her brow, the older woman said something like, "Well I guess I won't give you this toy if you're not going to talk to me." (It was a toy we were purchasing and it wasn't even for her, it was for a birthday party.) I felt heat rise but I didn't say anything because Bella shouldn't have furrowed her brow but she also didn't have to carry on a conversation with this woman. 

I prodded answers from Bella or answered for her but I left feeling totally unsettled. I struggled with feeling like I wasn't raising a cordial girl. And worst of all, I felt like I didn't champion Bella because I let my disappointment at her lacking to follow our "rule" to win out.  

The other introverted children I know are treated similarly. Things are said like either they need to outgrow it and/or the parents need to step in and do something because they're obviously dropping the ball. 

I understand that people more than likely don't mean anything rude or mean by the responses they have. And I also understand that I'm a sensitive Mama who sometimes takes something someone said the wrong way. But I also understand that it's not just me all the time. 

Bella is so very bright. She's emotional. She's intuitive. She can reenter the same room with the same people every day but every day will be different in how she responds. Because she's a person and every day is different. She may smile, she may wave, she may not want to look at you or she may make her fat stuffed sheep fart in your face, as she's also done recently. She's spontaneous and spunky but also an introvert. 

And I have to remember that. She's not malfunctioning. She's introverted. 

(She can definitely still use a strong dose of "common courtesy" though.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

{Easy} Chicken Cordon Bleu

I tried this recipe on a total whim. I hadn't found a Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe that looked easy or appealing. This one I found was on a crappy looking website (not the website attributed to the recipe below) that was littered with ads and threw pop ups at me when I tried to leave the site. It was like the sketch alley of the internet. I navigated my way to SuperGlue Mom's page and saved the recipe and I'm so glad I did. It's hella easy so I added the "easy" part. Cause that should probably be advertised .


{Easy} Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu 
Original recipe from SuperGlue Mom
 2 cups Alfredo sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Monterrey jack cheese, grated
12 oz penne pasta
1 cup chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 cup cooked ham, diced (I used 2 cups of chicken instead of an additional cup of ham)
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled 
1 Tablespoon Zatarain's Big and Zesty Original Creole Seasoning
you can make your own seasoning by combining:
1 Tablespoon onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano and dried sweet basil
1/2 Tablespoon dried thyme, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper and celery seed
3 Tablespoons sweet paprika

Cook pasta; drain.

Combine pasta, bacon, alfredo sauce, chicken, ham and seasoning. (I left out the cayenne pepper for the kids' sake but I recommend adding it when it's done!)

Pour pasta in a 9"x13" baking dish. Top with Parmesan and Monterrey cheese.

Set your oven to broil and set the dish on the middle baking rack. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.