Friday, July 25, 2008
Calling on all Experienced Mothers ...
So Isaac and I went to the Children's Museum today with Lynette Forbush in our ward and her 2 kids. Typically when we've gone before, Isaac plays pretty independently of us, enthralled with all the 'new' toys but today was a different experience. There was a child just a few months older than Isaac there with his father. As soon as he came in, he ran straight to Isaac and grabbed a toy out of his hand. Isaac began wailing. The boy's father apologized and handed the toy back to Isaac but everytime the child (Omar) came near us, Isaac was clearly afraid and would whimper. Omar, a big kid for his age, had been face painting at first and had a 'beard' on, so the father thought it was that and wiped it off. It still didn't settle Isaac and Omar seemed to 'thrive' on being near us. Eventually I moved with Isaac to another part of the room but it was inevitable that Omar would find us. Isaac would see him, register that he was near and cry for me or cling to me. It got to the point were the child didn't even wait for Isaac to see him, he'd simply yell at him and take what he wanted. By this time, the father had given up, he'd yell from a distance to Omar to 'give it back' but otherwise seem to find the situation amusing. I did not. I didn't want to coddle Isaac each time, but to give him the chance to face the problem himself. I stayed nearby and when he'd start to cry I'd call out to let him know I was near, but that he would be okay but his response did not change.
In the past, when other children have taken his toys there's a pattern that develops. Usually he cries the first 2-3 times, eventually he gets mad and scratches them. Of course I tell him to say no loudly, but not to scratch. If it continues, he begins to take 'preventative measures' and will growl fiercly if the child approaches near him, then scratch or hit. Abbey's son, Clayton can attest to this. ;0) But this time it was different, Isaac was somehow truely afraid of this other boy from the onset. How do you reassure your child, while not rescuing him from everything that is unpleasant? How do you teach them appropriate ways to stand up for themselves, especially when they are so young? I'm a little concerned that this may be a pattern. Until now, we haven't had much interaction with other children or their parents.
Speaking of which I too, am struggling to know how to deal with other kids. I guess I'm use to attentive parents who watch and teach their children. While we were there, I was reading a book with Isaac and a 1.5 year old boy came up and grabbed the book. Initially I said, sorry, but that we were reading first. He hung on and eventually began yelling. By this time Isaac had lost interest and since I wanted to prevent a scene from occuring, I let the child have it. (Could you envision an adult have a tug-of-war with a child yelling at the top of his lungs...) It bothers me a little since there was no parent around and I feel it sends a wrong message to both the child and Isaac. What should I have done?
I guess I'm in a bit of a quandary, I love having other mothers and their children around, but I'm seeing more and more how difficult it can be at times to teach my son while there are so many other 'examples' around him. It makes the teaching harder and more real. I also see clearly the 'heirarchy of playground psychology' at work and worry a little for my son. Needing all experienced mothers to give a word of advice ...
Isaac enjoying his first mung bean popsicle.