You’ve probably realized this by now, but Annabel is kind of a ham. She comes by it genetically.
Mike and I were both outgoing kids who didn’t shy away from crowds. We liked making the people around us laugh. Annie is exactly like us, and right now she has an easy audience in Mike and me. However, I’m starting to impress upon her the importance of time and place, which is probably wasted effort at this age but I’m terrified she’s going to be that kid in school. You know, that kid: the one that disrupts the class constantly with jokes and talking out of turn. In other words, me.
Mike was kind of that kid, too. He and I were talking about this the other day:
Me: If something came into my head and I thought it was funny, I would say it. Just totally interrupt the class.
Mike: I was like that too. But then, five minutes later, if something else came to mind I’d think, “Nah, I just interrupted the class five minutes ago. Better keep this one to myself.”
Me: Yeah, I did not have the ability to think before I spoke.
I look back now and I cringe. I want to apologize to every teacher and every fellow student I disrupted, and ugh my poor parents, who had to sit through countless parent-teacher conferences that started with, “Heather is a good student but we need to discuss her…talking.”
It’s not like my parents didn’t constantly talk to me about keeping my mouth shut and thinking before I spoke. I knew what I was supposed to do, but the desire to make my friends and teachers laugh was overpowering. I also remember having a feeling like, “If I don’t say this I will explode.” That sounds ridiculous now, but it was how I felt back then.
I made life a lot harder for myself. I got into trouble a lot and suffered the consequences at school and at home. It never made a difference in my own learning, but the thought that it might have had a negative effect on my classmates never occurred to me at the time and really mortifies me now.
I do not want this for Annabel.
Before every gymnastics class or dance lesson, I get down on her level and impress upon her the importance of listening to her teachers, waiting her turn, and not talking over others. Then I sit outside the class and I fret. I like that she is outgoing and confident. She already stands up for herself. I don’t worry about her making friends. But I worry about this. She is so much like me, and I’m afraid she’s going to have the thing I like the least about myself.
This is one of those moments where worry is useless. Until it happens, Annie is just being as cute as a 3 year old can be. I would worry now if she were unruly, lacked manners. But stifling the funny and cute…nah. In school, all of what you teach her now will come into play and she will be a great listener and helper. You’ll see.
My kid is just like me as well. It can be torture, knowing what’s in store for him, but on the other hand, I know what he’s thinking and I get to teach him the coping techniques and ways to get by that I learned when I was an adult, while he’s still a kid. So hopefully he can benefit from my wisdom!
Carrie B says:
Oh God, I was SO that kid. 100%. Even when I went back to uni to do post-grad aged 40, I still managed to be the class clown.
My daughter can be funny, always had a proper sense of time and place and thinks before she speaks. But my son…..EXACTLY like me.
You could wind up with two hams. Think of that.
My 2 year old is the same always finding ways to crack everyone up! She is strong willed and sassy. The picture of Annie is my Libby to a T she even has that purse except in purple!! I wasn’t the class comedien, that was my husband, but I always enjoyed the comedic breaks in a long day of learning!
Enjoy your confident little girl! I was the opposite in school — shy and afraid of having to speak in class. Oh how I envied the carefree ways of those who could just speak their mind without a care in the world! My kids are like that, and while I give them the same talk you do about listening, taking your turn, manners, etc., there is a small part of me cheering them on when I see them being little rascals : ) Life is sooo much easier for them!
Don’t borrow trouble. You are doing what you can to teach her social graces in addition to her independence and friendliness. She will get it. Not to say she won’t have moments. We all do. Annie seems like a great kid.
And, when she has a moment, relate your story to her. Tell her how you felt (like you would explode) and how you now feel (that you may have hurt others’ learning). Also ask her questions. “Why do you think you got in trouble?” “Why did that behavior upset this person?” “What can you do next time so that you don’t get in trouble?” “What do you think you should do now?”
This will help her learn to think about her behavior, rather than being told what to think/feel. And it will give her the power to make it right in the way that is best for her. This method helped me help my now 22 year old deal with a bully once. They became friends. And the bully behavior stopped.
I also found that if I questioned my kids through a situation, they were more likely to act on the ideas they came up with themselves than on things I simply told them.
That’s excellent! It’s the sort of advice from this great book titled “How to Talk to your Kids so They Will Listen”. I’ve yet to use some of those techniques with my own kid, since she’s a young toddler so listening is still hit or miss developmentally, but I did use some of the suggestions with kids I taught over the years and they really helped them understand why I would caution them about certain things they would do, even if they didn’t always heed the advice. Kids will be kids, after all, and sometimes experience is going to be the only effective teacher there is for them.
Wow, this post really struck a nerve, in a good way. If you were a ham, I was struggling in the opposite way. I was a chicken. My son is 1 year old and hasn’t yet hit that rambunctious toddler phase, whereas I see other kids his age practically ransacking everything in their path. He is gentle, quiet, affectionate and deliberate in his actions. Rather than splashing in his bath, he lightly pats the water, lol! He has words, but uses them on his own terms. He’s right on track developmentally and happy as can be, but I can already tell he has a quiet and laid-back personality, just like me. On one hand I feel like, WOW, I am blessed with one of those easy kids (relative term)! But the other part of me is terrified that he will suffer in some of the ways I did as a painfully quiet child….”friendships” with overly domineering children who “liked” me because I was so easygoing (a passive pushover who would tie your shoes on command – true story), and just mountain of awkwardness until I finally grew into my own skin. It took me until 9th grade to tell my teachers I wanted to be called Angie instead of Angela, because it was too hard for me to speak up during roll call on the first day of school to tell them the name I actually went by. So now I look at my sweet boy and hope that I can use what I learned about the pro’s and con’s of being shy to help him thrive and avoid some of the pitfalls that I encountered as a child and teenager. At the same time, I vow to appreciate and embrace him for who is is and not try to change the core of his being in any way. I love him just the way he is. However, I feel no matter what a child’s hardwired personality may be, we as parents can still guide them and teach them social skills that will help them connect to people (just like you talking to Annie before dance class). Thanks for sharing this. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels this way, or the exact opposite
she’s so on trend with the puppy purse! That was carried at the Oscar’s last night!!!
She MAY be that kid, but try not to worry too much! It hasn’t even happened yet. Plus, you guys turned out GREAT, so even if she has a couple of those years, she’ll be just fine! She’ll be a strong, confident woman, and I think that’s amazing.
as another one of “those” kids (it started in grade school, lasted through college), i understand your concern… but let me also voice the praises of ‘those kids’. if the witty remarks stay on topic, it can actually be a learning tool for some of the other students as it keeps them engaged with the subject material rather than drifting off in boredom. also, people often remember things they learned by some sort of memory association – that’s why the recommend you take tests in the same room you learned the curriculum if possible, because you may associate bits of info in the environs you learn them in. a student may have trouble jogging their recall, but when someone has cracked a joke about it, they might associate the two. it also show’s brightness & creativity to engage this way. the trick is to not overdo it and keep it on topic, which of course, is pretty darn difficult to teach a little one. there was a huge positive difference in my grades when i had a teacher that was okay with a little bit of clowning here and there, the ones that made ‘an example’ out of me just made me shy, worried & distracted in the classroom. so there are some perks too. of course, this may mean the “annie is a bright, wonderful little girl, but she needs to work on her TALKING” notes may be in the future… but this is probably preferred to the “she seems disconnected with her classmates & her classwork” and the grades that reflect that. we are still learning what classroom environs work best… for years we told kids to ‘sit still’ for the same reasons — now there are many studies showing that fidgeting in the classroom actually helps many students to maintain focus. besides, if annie turns out to be just like mike & yourself, that means she turns out an intelligent, witty, engaged, kind, fun person… i think she could do much worse!!
Yes, this! I am an elementary school teacher and I have to say, the class clowns are usually very endearing, witty and help make our day more enjoyable. If a student says a funny comment or joke and we all get a laugh and go right back to our discussion, I don’t discourage it. I feel like it helps keep the kiddos engaged and loving learning, which is exactly what I want! Some kids are just so funny that it’s impossible to be mad at them for being disruptive anyway. Yay for outgoing kids who love to make people laugh!
I love this picture! I have the exact same worry only in an opposite way. I was the shy quiet kid (and adult!) who never stood up for myself. I’m hoping my daughter will not be like that. As of right now she is exactly like me also. She talks constantly around us, but get her out amongst others and forget it. She clams up. I think it’s amazing Annie already stands up for herself. It will serve her well in life (even if it does get her into a little trouble, that’s okay!)
Annie is seems like such a sensitive child–and she has listened so well to you about listening to the teacher, etc; so if she is similar to you & Mike, I think if you spoke to her about thinking about how her behavior may affect other students adversely, she would probably take that to heart and truly listen to you and curb her tongue & antics without losing her core personality.
Mary Beth says:
This sounds a little crazy, but a lot of the time I feel like I was the only one who just did not know when to stop talking! Even now I’m what you might call “chatty” and I have to say it’s one of my least favorite qualities, but it is so hard to stop.
I was soo you except I was very bossy too. I guess that’s what happens when you are the oldest of 4. Now however I have a 6 year old and she is so quiet and shy it scares me sometimes. Even her teacher expressed concern to me at a parent teacher conference. Kayla seems to just follow along with the crowd and doesn’t speak up for herself, if she is called on in class to answer a question she will start to tear up. It breaks my heart and I have no idea how to help her. My biggest fear with her is that she will continue on like this and during her teenage years will not speak up for herself and go along with the wrong crowd simply because she is too fearful to stand up for herself.
I’m sure you probably do this, but I’d start with empowering her at home, by asking her to voice what she thinks. It can be small things like choosing what to wear in the morning, or ask her “what do you think we should have for dinner tonight?”. She doesn’t have to get her way all the time, but even a “Hmmm, I can’t promise it will happen, but I’ll think about it” can help promote the idea that her own thoughts and feelings are valuable because they’re uniquely hers.
Debbie B. says:
I have to agree with most of the comments above. Annie’s outgoing personality is going to serve her well, in so many ways. And if it gets her into a little trouble from time to time – that is okay too. I highly doubt that you or Mike affected the future of your classmates, if anything they were probably envious of your confidence. I was, and still am, the kind of person who has to think everything through before I say it out loud. I so wish I had Annie’s confidence and was just able to say what I wanted without second guessing myself. Annie is an adorable, creative, very bright three year old – with your continued guidance she will figure out the proper limits – no need to worry!
I work with her age all the time. A good teacher/instructor will be able to redirect her and help her with the talking BEFORE she actually gets into a real classroom situation. So those dance classes are doing more than helping her learn to dance Also, demonstrating good listening skills for her at home will help. Make sure you and mike dont interupt each other, and make a big deal about apologizing if you do. Play turn taking games (we play a silly song one – sing a song you all know, but each person can only say one word at a time)
She’s a cool kids, you’re doing a good job, and dont worry, you didnt really ruin anyone’s learning experience.
At her age, she’s going to learn a lot of appropriateness cues from modeling from her parents and peers.
This is to say that if you’re aware you’ve struggled with this, your modeling of what it’s like to be outgoing and yet aware of when it’s the right time to say or do things will be invaluable to her, even if she might not necessarily be totally aware that this is happening.
If you want to add teachable moments, you could always take time out to point out proper behavior in a neutral way. Say, for example, you run into a social situation where another child is being a ham, you could always off handedly say “That was funny, but I am not sure it was an appropriate thing for [other child] to say in front of people who don’t know him/her very well” to Annie. She’s probably smart enough to put two and two together and realize she would not look good doing that either.
I have kinda the opposite problem. My daughter has a very strong personality, but she alternates from periods of chattiness and activity to periods of preternatural quiet, of doing feats of development and then being reticent to take more risks, and it has raised eyebrows at daycare once or twice: she walked late, and talked fluently late, and I’ve had to explain that’s who she’s always been, someone who does things only when she’s certain she can do them to her satisfaction, and not before that (she gets that from me, sadly). One of her pre-k teachers (where I asked for her to be moved so she’d feel a bit more pressure to talk to other kids) just told me the other day “at first I thought ‘oh, she’s going to be a quiet one’, but boy when she decides to talk, is she ever chatty!”. Does it worry me? Absolutely. But I tell myself that knowing what it’s like gives me an advantage my mom never had with me: I can tell her things like “sometimes you can say what’s on your mind without having all the words figured out, and it’s going to be okay, I promise”, instead of having no clue what’s going on with her.
I was one of the quiet kids, so I can’t offer any advice, but I love that picture. She simultaneously looks so young and so old at the same time. Is that purse smaller or larger than Rigby?
Every teacher my oldest daughter ever had would start conferences off by telling me how wonderful and smart Mack was, and how the only thing she needed to work on was talking when she shouldn’t be.
Now, I did talk to her about it. But I always would think to myself that there are way worse things for my daughter to do, than being the kid who was social while at school. I was a total introvert, so seeing my social butterfly daughter was a breath of fresh air.
History is repeating itself with my youngest. In 1st grade, the only thing the teacher can say negatively about her is that she talks too much.
There are way too many meek girls in the world afraid of the sound of their own voice. If a few Parent-Teacher conferences about Annabel’s talking are the price you have to pay for an exuberant, assertive daughter, it’s worth it! Embrace your strength (which you’re calling a flaw)…clearly it has led you to be a great blogger!
Love that last pic of Annie! I saw a purse like hers on the red carpet last night. I was very shy growing up until I got to know people. I’m still that way. It’s like that saying, “you are at 5 who you are at 50”. I don’t have kids yet but I pray they are not outgoing in an obnoxious way ( a la will smith’s kids). My niece is this way and 2 of my 1st cousins (siblings) were this way while we were growing up. They’re 30 & 34 and they’re still that way. When I watch old videos of all of us growing up, unprompted my friends will say “who are those kids? I want to punch them” (not literally haha). I’m sure Annie won’t be that way. It sounds like you’re giving her good advice not to encroach on anyone else’s time/experience when she’s out. I’m sure she will be just fine…me on the other hand, I’m worried for my future kid bc I already recently raised an obnoxious dog.
I wouldn’t worry overmuch about Annie. First and foremost because she has you and Mike as her parents. You two are the most thoughtful, deep, awesome parents EVER. Seriously.
I was both the chatty kid (in elementary) and the painfully shy (with strangers/the public/in middle and high school). Life and good modeling from people I respected have turned me into who I am today. A bit socially awkward but completely functional and able to stand up for myself person. Annie is what I call a “sparkly” person – she jusr radiates humor and love and fun. People are drawn to her because she is amazing and she inspires the best out of people. I know she’s just a toddler so that sounds odd but mark my words. She is an influential person. And I cannot wait to see where her life leads.
(FWIW, Heather, Mike, and Maddie are ALL sparkle people too, lucky family!)
That was totally me! Spent the majority of my elementary school years, including kindergarten in the corner for wise cracking, chatting and thinking I was hilarious. I don’t think overall it disturbed other’s learning so much so they missed out on neurophysicist school. What I’m trying to say in essence is I was just like you guys and Annie and look how great I turned out! Crap…maybe you should worry….
oops….messed up my own website address! keep worrying!