The last week has been fun but hectic. Hobo came into town and crashed on my couch for 5 days and we had 2 big parties and Elli's first sleepover; there was very little downtime. After this much people exposure I get a wee bit squirrely and desperately need my alone time to read, write, and play games. Elli gets the same way and especially after big parties with lots of adults she requires quiet time by herself to recharge. The devil, as usual, is in the details.
When I think of alone time I think of me by myself shooting aliens online, reading philosophy or economics books, or even doing household chores. As long as nobody else is around I can recharge pretty much regardless of what I am doing. Elli's version of 'alone time' is a little bit different though because it can be summarized as "Mama and Daddy give 100% of their attention to me and nobody else is around." This makes it very difficult when both Elli and I need alone time at the same moment! When Elli leaps into my lap, grabs my shirt, shoves her face directly into mine, and demands that we play princesses together it is relaxing and calming for her. She likes that solo time. I, on the other hand, feel like someone just shoved a firehose spewing raw stress down my throat and turned it on full blast.
I find true alone time relaxing, time with adults and friends fun but slightly stressful and time spent completely with Elli to be more stressful than anything else. I suspect she understands this and finds it difficult to deal with. She desperately wants to be around me and it is a hard thing when two people have mismatched desires to be near each other; far moreso when one of them is utterly dependent on the other. Normally we can establish compromises that make it work but things get somewhat dysfunctional when both of us are coming off of a lot of people time because we are both stressed and more desperate to have our own versions of alone time come to pass.
I hear people talk about how it is hard to raise teenagers because they rarely want to talk to you and become to independent. I can't wait for that! I really like some aspects of parenting, particularly explaining challenging concepts. I find it exciting to try to figure out Elli's limits of understanding and to try to give her the best possible comprehension of a new or challenging idea. I love watching her thinking about something and stepping in to say "That is cool all right, and now consider how that affects *this* idea...." Thinkers (from Myers-Briggs personality types) tend to dislike babies and like teenagers and Feelers are the opposite. I suppose I should not be surprised that I lean so drastically towards Thinker ways.