When I was 4 years old, my grandmother took me on vacation. She needed something to preoccupy her after my grandfather passed away, so she decided to go away and take me along. I was a perfect distraction. I was born an extrovert, reveled in any spotlight, and was easily the most gregarious child since birth. I can't say the same about my introvert child, though, and the struggles of being an extrovert mom raising an introvert kid are so damn real.
I was the kid who would dance and sing as people gathered around me in a circle, amazing at this small child performer. I would stand on tabletops and recite the poetry of Alexander Pushkin when my parents' friends would come by. I would create intricate theater productions for our guests, involving my brother and any other willing participant. I was the lead in my choir, sang at my elementary school graduation, and wrote and recited a poem for my middle school graduation. I participated in talent shows and auditioned for school plays. I basked in the spotlight. I lived in the world that revolved around me.
Then, I met my husband, who happens to be a quiet, pensive, ridiculously intelligent man. A man who speaks only when necessary. A man who has very little photographic evidence of his teenage years because, according to him, "Why would anyone spend their days taking pictures of each other?" A man who is often amazed at what I am willing to do and say in public. That man and I created two incredible and completely different children: an introvert and an extrovert. The introvert came first and I had no idea how much of a struggle it could be to raise an introvert as an extrovert.
To be completely honest, I didn't realize my daughter was an introvert for years. Instead, I thought she was just shy. Because I am me, I couldn't understand how she wasn't like me. I know, I know. You don't have to tell me how crappy of a parent I am, as I can assure you I've criticized myself enough to last a lifetime already. One day it just hit me, though, and as soon as I changed my parenting my little introvert flourished and thrived.