In our family, we have begun to embrace shyness. I've been reading a book (suggested by a Blog reader) entitled The Highly Sensitive Child. I originally purchased it to read for Sidge. However, we have since come to discover through counseling work that Sidge's emotional issues are due to his brain being too big for him emotional maturity.
But Abigail? This book was written about HER! In reading this book, I've discovered that shyness should not be seen as a negative thing. It shouldn't be pushed away. It is who Abigail is. It is how she sees the world: she takes stimuli in much faster and on a more intense level than other people.
Since moving back to America, Abigail has opened up a bit more. She's been going to Sunday School. (A huge step for her.) And occasionally she will choose to talk to people or respond to people when they speak to her. At Disney World, she did very well with the characters. But if a princess or anyone who worked at Disney World tried to talk to her, she immediately retreated into a state of shyness.
(We like to call her a rabbit when she does this. She freezes, like a rabbit does when he has been spotted. It actually appears that she believes if she doesn't move or look at the person, they will not actually see her.)
An example? Meeting Tinker Bell. We are very big on not pushing her. If she doesn't want to meet a person or a character or a princess or anyone, we don't make her. But she wanted to meet Tink. She was thrilled about it. And then, her turn in line came. And this is what happened:
Tink tried so hard. I think she took the inability to win Abigail over personally.
Tink trying to explain why she was a safe person!
A quick look up but that was all she could muster.
But here is the funny thing. This shy girl? Put her on a roller coaster and she is an entirely new person. In fact, she was quite disappointed when she was too little to ride Space Mountain and one of the coasters at Legoland. She wanted all of them. Check it out:
That's Abigail front and center. Notice me in red jacket and Joni and Isaac in front of me and Daddy and Sidge in front row with Abigail on Splash Mountain. But Abigail? She had her arms up the whole time!
Another view on Splash Mountain. That's Abigail in the third row, arms ready to go.
Here is a tiny kid's train at Legoland. Abigail even felt the need to raise her arms and yell on this one!
(That's AD and Hannah in the first seat.)
I love each of my children so intensely and uniquely. Abigail's spirit mixed with her shyness truly defines who she is, and I love this about her. I've learned to embrace her individuality and personality. She's such a cool kid!