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.
Ugh…..my niece and nephew have been such great sharers until just recently. Now it is lesson teaching time. But it does infuriate me when other mommy’s/nanny’s/aunt’s, etc. are just clueless about teachable moments…and authority. It is like some people think if they discipline their child they think you will think less of them….but it is quite the opposite. Grrrrr. I say you go back and claim your new fun space. And teach the other mommy’s, etc. by example. 🙂
There are a lot of parenting philosophies and here in LA, there are a few that involve not intervening with a child’s behavior and conflicts. When I run into that, I just can’t deal. I’d rather leave. Though I think this particular case was more about the mom’s fear. Anyway, I appreciate your comment. I may work up the courage to go back. Today would be a perfect day for it… hmmmm…
Where is the supervision in the place? They need to have someone at least supervising so it is not up to the parents only to intervene. A park is another issue. There you should bring your own toys, In the play area I would insist the kids share if there are more than one item in each category. I would nicely take the item and give it to my kid when the whole idea of this play space is for kids to share the space. And I would complain to the person who runs the joint. I always reasoned with the kids and explained that they needed to share whether they liked it or not or if no one else was sharing. Just be more aggressive. And that sweet demeanor is a part of Spenser and he will be fine.
The supervisors at this place say they cannot intervene – this is why children are allowed in only with an adult. Doesn’t seem to help. I think you are right in that his sweetness will prevail.
Advice here. Sorry, I know you’re sharing, not necessarily asking for suggestions… But I’ve been there. I’ve been the mom whose kid acted out, who didn’t notice and I’ve been the mom whose kid got steam rolled by the older bullyish kid. I would suggest, if you wanna thwart this type of behavior, as soon as you arrive at a play place, survey the kids and parents and introduce yourself to the moms or caregivers. You wanna model the behaviors that you want your kid to have. And you want the other parents to see you engaged in everything that is going on, not just your kid. So don’t ignore the other parents until there is a problem. Make friends with them or at least try. Say hello.
It’s so hard to watch someone bully your kid. But, in my opinion, it’s just as important for them to know how to handle an over zealous kid, as it is to teach them not to be one of those kids. And as an afterthought, MINE is just a stage. If you do the right stuff, it’ll pass and all will be well. And your kid will figure out how to act.
Good luck. You seem to be doing a great job.
That’s really good advice. I like the idea of being friendly to other caregivers right away. And yes, S needs to learn how to deal with it. I can’t avoid it forever! Thank you!
I know those kids too, I see them at playgroup. They are also the reason why T didn’t want to go to playgroup anymore. We’re slowing trying to re-introduce playgroup to her since we stopped going for awhile. The good thing is, those kids are now older and have graduated to play school. The bad news is, T will soon be too old for playgroup too and will have to join play school soon (3 and above). She also learned the dreaded “that’s mine!” expression from those kids. I reprimand her all time and tell her that she has to share. I remind her ALL THE TIME before we leave for playgroup/playdates etc. It seems to be working. Btw, haven’t seen Quick Draw yet. The link you sent me, worked but for the free trial, they only show about 5 mins of it! Hopefully, it will be shown here too =)
Yes, I guess the aggressive kids are unavoidable!
And also re: Quick Draw, there are lots of clips on the site and 2 full episodes. Maybe you just saw one of the clips but there is more there?
Oooo don’t you hate that! The damn outside world influencing our kids! We were at the park today and a little girl about 4yrs old came up and kicked this fish statue in the head and said something like “I’m gonna kick you in the head you stupid boring thing”. She was showing off for a boy around the same age. But my kid was standing right nearby and couldn’t stop starting at what was going on and I was sooooo annoyed as I don’t want my child learning how to speak like that!!! Frustrating. We’ve been through the mine stage too. It has mostly passed now but we get moments of it and it’s mostly in relation to toys. I just always say “but you are aren’t playing with it and we are all sharing today”. Good luck!!!
I like “:you aren’t playing with it right now.” Though I’m sure then the kid will start playing with it… We just have to trust that the experimentation is just that. So hard. Just keeping calm will help!!
Thank you for the support!