The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Friday, December 02, 2005

Painfully shy

"She's shy," Julia's teacher said during a frank discussion today. "Painfully shy."

She was telling me nothing that I didn't know before. And yet, I was struck once again by how upset her words made me. Not the shy part... I long ago came to terms with the fact that my daughter and I have vastly different personalities, and I suspect that in the end, her quiet nature may serve her better than my boisterous one has ever served me. But that first word -- painfully -- that one gives me pause each and every time I hear it.

My thesaurus has 31 synonyms for painful. Aching. Afflictive. Agonizing. Arduous. Awful. Biting. Burning. Caustic. Difficult. Dire. Disagreeable. Distasteful. Distressing. Dreadful. Excruciating. Extreme. Extremely bad. Grievous. Hard Harrowing. Hurtful. Hurting. Inflamed. Irritated. Laborious. Piercing. Raw. Saddening. Sensitive. Severe. Sharp. Smarting. Sore. Stinging. Tedious. Tender. Terrible. Throbbing. Tormenting. Troublesome. Trying. Uncomfortable. Unpleasant. Vexatious.

The very idea that any of these words describe the way my daughter feels during every day social situations? Now THAT is the true definition of painful to me.


At 3:51 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

That's a loaded word -- a word we put in front of shy; she didn't. She's shy. And until she tells you otherwise, that's all the shy she is.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Steph said...

I totally agree with Kristy. I've been "painfully" shy my whole life, if someone else were to label me. However, to me, it's just the way I am. I might not thrive in large social settings, but I don't find them agonizing or tormenting either. It's a happy balance, which I am sure that Julia will work out for herself as she grows up.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger chichimama said...

Look at Auntie C. I'm still managed to lead a (somehwat) productive life, get married, have two kids, etc. etc. I was beyond painfully shy. Still am.

Have I mentioned yet that I didn't say a word my entire 3rd grade year?

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Dana said...

Danielle is very much like Julia. And I've learned through experience exactly what Kristy mentioned.

Danielle is older now and would probably describe herself then and now as uncomfortably shy. But uncomfortable can be beneficial -- it pushes us to change, to try and maintain equilibrium. It pushes us off balance, and that can be healthy sometimes.

I've found that with Danielle being uncomfortable, its given her the ability to really pause and think about whether she wants to interact with an adult, instead of running headlong and saying "hi" to every adult that looks at her. :-)

Watching Danielle, I found the shyness was only painful for people that didn't know her well and were not sure how to act and react.

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Joy said...

I agree with everything the others have said.

And I have to add that I really, really dislike when people put the "shy" label on kids. It's seen as a negative characteristic and doesn't do anything but make the child feel worse. In fact, I have never even used the word when talking about Lauren. If someone mentions to me about her being shy, I usually *correct* them by saying "She's cautious".

How is it going for Julia now? Is she still doing the one-on-one with the teacher? How about joining in during play time. It seemed to me that things were looking up.


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