My son is quirky. His favorite colors are pink and purple. He routinely reconstitutes trash into art. He asks questions like, “What if everything was made out of eyeballs?” He recently made himself an applesauce sandwich (only after I said no to his cottage cheese and crushed Ritz sandwich idea.) When he was three, his uniqueness was celebrated and adored by all. Now that he’s five, his affinity for jewelry and willingness to discuss death raises eyebrows. He’s been called weird.
I thank God for my weird kid. It makes me sad that he’s recognizing differences and is beginning to conform. I love that he is creative and thoughtful and unique. There is nothing more dull than sameness, and the fact that we are all individuals is something to celebrate and not stifle. Sometimes kids don’t understand that. More often, parents don’t understand that. It is easy to worry that there is something wrong with your child if they aren’t interested in the same things as their peers, and comparing kids is a favorite parenting pastime. It’s easier and comforting to know that your kid is “normal.” Normal is accepted, and isn’t that what we all want, for ourselves and our children, to be accepted?
Of course I want my kids to follow appropriate social behavior, like using kind words, respecting personal space, and being truthful and fair. Do I wish he would keep his clothes on at play dates? Hell yes! But more so, I am proud of his weirdness. He knows that next time a friend calls him weird, he should take it as a compliment. Which is good, because he may be getting these compliments more and more as he gets older.