I write a lot about my son, Spenser, but not a lot about who he is; he is a sweet, happy, kind, loving, active, curious, excited boy who laughs, loves people and as my dad says, always has a good time.
That’s who he is and I love it. I love how he tries things and is always game for adventures and outings. I love how he’s not shy and makes friends quickly. I love how he loves strangers and talks to them all the time (I’ll have to change that once I’m not with him every minute of the day.) I love how even when he’s frustrated or something is hard, he perseveres and is so proud of himself when he accomplishes his task.
This is who he is at 29 months old. I think this is who he is at his core… but there are bumps and turns along the way. I guess I didn’t really realize that until:
We’ve been going to this play space at a library near by. Tons of fun toys, comfy seats for me and there’s someone there who’s job it is to clean up (though S actually likes cleaning up… when we aren’t at home.) I’m going to come here everyday!! I thought.
Then I started noticing that the other kids who came here were… aggressive. And many of their parents (moms) were… not attentive/concerned about it.
My sweet boy played with blocks only to have them ripped from his little hands.
I’d bite my lip as a kid grabbed a dinosaur from my sweetheart. He’d just watch it go and look at me, confused.
“You can tell the boy that you don’t want him to take it,” I coached Spenser. But by then he seemed to have moved on, but I said it loudly for the mom’s sake.
I was starting to second guess this place but a week later, I realized it was the perfect activity to fit into our day. We went back.
We went into the room and S excitedly ran around playing with his favorite things. Soon he spotted a 4ish year old boy, on the floor, with his mom or nanny, near about 8 toy trucks. The boy wasn’t playing with the trucks, he was occupied by some blocks as the mom/nanny was trying to read him a book.
Spenser was delighted to see these trucks and went over to pick one up. As soon as the truck was in his hand, the boy sprung up and grabbed it, “MINE!” the boy shouted.
Spenser was stunned. I was not happy. I waited for the mom/nanny to intervene. And she did. “Let him play with one,” she said, calmly to the boy. “You aren’t using them.”
“MINE!” The boy screamed back.
The mom/nanny went back to reading the book aloud.
A few minutes later, S tried to pick up another truck.
“MINE!” the boy shouted and grabbed it again.
I had to step in. With my very sweetest smile, I said to the devil, I mean boy, “Couldn’t you please share one of the trucks with him? He’d really love to play with one.”
Spenser stared wide eyed and waited to see what would unfold next.
“MINE!” The boy shouted and then threw a hissy fit.
“If you can’t share, then I have to take you home,” mom/nanny said.
Yes please, I thought. But she didn’t take him home. This Mine thing went on for a while. S kept trying to play with those trucks. My heart was aching and the mom/nanny seemed to lack the authority to make a difference. Should I leave? I wanted to shield my sweet boy from this meanness – not just to protect him but so he wouldn’t learn this behavior.
Then it happened. A day later, Spenser said, “MINED!” taking my glasses off of my face as he added a “D” to the word he thought he was saying, which made it slightly amusing. But it was still alarming. I didn’t want him to learn this aggressive behavior. My heart sunk. My little sweet baby is getting influenced by the real world. It was bound to happen… but I wasn’t ready. I cried inside for a few seconds and then realized here was a teaching moment. Oh God, I had to be really good at this. “First of all, they aren’t yours,” I told him about my glasses. “And second, that’s not a nice word,” I said, “We don’t grab things and we don’t say that word like that.”
Of course, he was intrigued. “MINED!” he said, grabbing his own stuffed cookie monster. “MINED!” He said at the loathsome park, grabbing some other kids’ toy. “MINED! MINEED! MINED!” he started saying a lot.
MINED became the exciting bad word that got a reaction from mama. Oops. OK. Re think this. I had to stop telling him it was a bad word. He is two. He was not getting it.
So… it’s been a few weeks and the MINED obsession has lessened. We have not gone back to that great play space only because of the aggressive crowd.
I’ll let you know what happens.