Monday, February 4, 2013

Library Lessons

google image of our local library

Reid has finally started enjoying story times at the library. We have been going fairly regularly for about 6 months. When given the option of going to an open gym play group and the library he ALWAYS chooses the library. Love that.

Today we had to leave story time a little prematurely. A big thanks to all the moms who bring treats for their kids. Sigh. Reid roamed around the room following all the children who had cheese sticks or cherrios. Then he cried. Seriously parents, don't feed your kids during story time! I know we don't all go to the library website to read the storytime rules, but no snacks is one of them. My child is the very reason why. He cannot focus on books and songs if someone else is running around with food.

Anyway ...

He ran ahead of me as we left the storytime area. Knowing he'd get to play with the Thomas the Tank Engine Train Table quickly helped him forget about all the snacks he wanted to steal from other children. By the time I made it to the toddler play area, he was following a sweet little girl out. She had run to her daddy, pouting "there's a boy playing with the trains and he isn't playing nice!"

I quickly wondered who the boy could be. But when I looked over at the train table there was just one other little girl.

I called to Reid to come back and play with the trains, and figured out who that mean little boy was. Yup, it was Reid.

Reid loves to share. He never takes more than one train. He loves when other kids are at the table to play with him. Maybe even a little too much ...

He was so excited to play with this little girl that he was scaring her. He kept saying "race" and "go fast." And when she'd try to move away from him he'd take it as an invitation to go faster than before. He'd giggle, and she'd run to her dad crying. And he'd follow her with the biggest smile, even bigger than the smile he flashed when one little girl shared her cheese with him.

I kept calling him back to the train table and asking him to go slow and be soft. "Race!" and "Fast!" were the only responses I got.

The little girl came back over and so sweetly asked "Can you please play nice with me?" Seriously, it melted my heart.

But fast was the only thing on Reid's mind.

To be clear, he wasn't being terrible. His "fast" is still a little slower than my walk. Another father on scene just smiled at me and said "he's a boy." I knew it was code for "give up on getting him to go slow and soft."

Eventually, the little girl who thought Reid was mean and scary left.

At the moment I kind of felt terrible. First he followed kids around begging for their food. He left storytime shouting "Snack Mommy!" Then in the play area he literally scared a little girl away.

Oh, and by 8:10am I'd had poop on my hand on two separate occasions. For the most part, it wasn't a great morning.

But as I was recounting the library train incident to Ben this evening I saw the metaphor. I wondered how many times I've misinterpreted someone's intentions. How many times have I chosen to be offended or to stop being friendly with someone because I just didn't understand their real motive. I know my own motives have been misinterpreted, and that's always a hard thing to swallow. When that happens, I just wish that I could make things right and show my loving heart.

I guess I'm just glad Reid didn't realize how much that little girl did not like him. Really, he was clueless.

After she left, Reid and another girl did race and go fast around the tracks. They giggled and she absolutely loved it. I still felt horrible that my child had caused another kid to feel unsafe and anxious. And I do fault his behavior. I fully understand why his jumping in her face was frightening. I guess I'm just astounded that adults make those same toddler mistakes. We see someone's excitement as overbearing. We assume someone's quiet nature is snideness. We miss out on giggles and happiness because we only think about what we want, and not what others are feeling.

Every parent knows what I remembered today, we have a lot to learn from our little ones. 


Anonymous said...

Very well said! Love, Pa

Scott and Claudia said...

So true! While working in preschool I was taught much about adult behavior by 4 year old children!

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