Introvert Parent, Extrovert Kid

I’m a writer, with naturally introverted tendencies. Sure, I can call out my extrovert once in a while when I’m speaking in public (which I actually enjoy!) or whatnot. But generally, I fritz out when there’s too much activity.

Right now, my kids are at three different schools, and just driving and doing the basics of maintenance are about all I can handle.

Luckily, or so I thought, I’d gotten away with all of my kids being more or less introverted.

Eldest likes acting, but many stage people are introverted (Audrey Hepburn, Harrison Ford, Meryl Streep– all introverts). My son wants to be a computer programmer and happy to be on his own. IF somebody invites him to do something he’s usually glad to go do it, but he’s also glad to be a homebody.

Little Girl was the wild card. She was awfully shy at school, but crazy at home. She provides a running commentary on everything and anything. All of the dog’s thoughts. What she did at school. The dreams she had last night. The play she’s working on (costumes, sponsors, dialogue!). Her plans to go to Hawaii with her friends (she dreams big, that one). And of course looking over my shoulder at the computer screen and asking questions.

So we always wondered– is she an introvert yearning to be an extrovert? Or an extrovert plagued with unwanted shyness?

Turns out it was the latter.

This year, softball and Scouts and maturity all conspired to bust her out of her shell. The more activities she has, the better. She’s always ready to go.

And– suddenly her verbal skills bloomed, too. She’s just as snarky as her daddy and her older brother and sister. (If you know my husband, you will realize that this means they’re all trying to out-snark and out-joke each other all day long. Which is entertaining but also chaotic.) This weekend, she had three big events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each would take 2-4 hours.She especially likes to exercise this skill with her sister’s friends (mean age of 16) who will then gleefully say, “OWNED by the little Dilloway!”

When I told Little Girl about this weekend’s schedule, the only thing she said was, “And then what?”

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

“What are we doing AFTER?” she said. “Is that ALL?”

Dear Lord.

I am going to DIE this summer.

I remembered my friend Leah Singer had written an “>article about how she deals with her extroverted kid.

And I do tell her that she needs to just chill out and play sometimes. And if she says, “What NEXT?” I give her some chores to do. There are always plenty of those.

The good news is, my husband doesn’t mind driving around and doing stuff with her. His Meyers-Briggs personality type is The Field Marshal (ENTJ), but he’s just as happy hanging out quietly as he is doing stuff. So he can swing both ways, so to speak.

As for this summer: camp. Lots of camps.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

3 thoughts on “Introvert Parent, Extrovert Kid

  1. Haha! What type are you?? I test as ENFP and can definitely wear out my INTJ husband with the constant stream of people and activity that best feeds my soul! Ah, but we do have a good thing going on!

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