The other day we went to gym class. I LOVE our gym class and more importantly, so does Spenser.
During some structured (yet unstructured) play with blocks, a more aggressive boy kicked Spenser after S knocked down his tower. Spenser’s favorite thing to do… knock down stuff. ANY stuff! And so he got kicked. Not hard, but still, it was not good.
Spenser looked at me with that what just happened? expression and my stomach dropped and I panicked. I looked at the boys mom and she was talking to someone else, and had missed it.
I thought of my wonderful readers Madgew, Jebhow515 Dean B Naima who gave me such great comments on MINED – giving me support, encouraging me to push through and not worry about my son becoming an aggressive kid from these interactions.
It’s funny, but I nannied and babysat and taught kids for 16 years. The girls I nannied – five different girls over 13 years- I really didn’t deal with much of this kind of conflict. Is it because I was dealing with girls? It was more about bruises and bumps than aggression. This is new to me.
Thinking of my readers, I said, “Spenser, he shouldn’t have kicked you.” I wanted to say something to the boy, but instead, I passively said, “He should say he’s sorry.”
“Yeah,” Spenser said and turned back to blocks.
The boy ran away.
I leaned over and told one of the teachers what had happened. “You can tell his mom,” she said. I looked over and all the boys were playing happily. I felt like the opportunity passed me by. The teacher didn’t witness it so she couldn’t intervene.
I thought about my lovely reader Naima’s comment on my entry MINED: make friends with the parents. Yes! If only I had made friends with the mom I could have said, “Hey Sue, Justin just kicked Spenser,” instead of me freaking out like a scaredy cat. This group is usually on top of their kids, but sometimes they aren’t.
I knew I should have taken charge of that situation a little better. A kid kicked my son and I didn’t know what to do. Maybe I handled it alright. I know that this is part of growing up. Me growing up, I mean.
After the class, I talked to the owner of the gym. She encouraged me to speak up to the other parents and to keep empowering Spenser with the right words – “Don’t kick me,” or “I don’t like that.” I know this. Why didn’t I remember this? She also encouraged me not to have Spenser just avoid these aggressive kids – “You don’t want him to feel like a victim.” she said.
I agree. I don’t want to leave this great gym class just because of one boy. So… I started up a friendly conversation with his mom, after class.
Today, it was one of those perfect times to go to the aggressive kid library. I decided to go and not be victimized. I walked in, armed with the phrases “Tell him you are still playing with it” (in case of a grab) “Tell her you’d like a turn next” (in case of a non sharer) and “Tell him you don’t like to be pushed.” etc. I took a deep breath and we went in.
Kids pretty much left S alone and he did his own thing and we played with puppets a bit.
There was one indecent of a boy not playing with a truck that S wanted and then grabbing it when S touched it. The boy was like 7. “Tell the boy you’d like a turn, please,” I coached.
“I turn pweeze,” S repeated.
The boy reluctantly handed it over. He wasn’t using it anyway. I was elated even though Spenser played with it for 10 seconds.
There was one girl who grabbed a pretend pretzel out of S’s hand but the mom was right there and told her not to grab and gave it back to S.
It was good. I felt better… but I know it’s still a process.
Thank you for your comments and help. You guys are awesome!
I also would have said something to Spenser about knocking down others’ towers. The kick is wrong and that should not be allowed. But Spenser needs to know there might be consequences to his actions too. He is little but he will learn about space and what it is to intrude on someone else’s. They all learn. Glad you spoke up. Learning lessons everyday.
Oh yeah, I didn’t write that part but I did tell S not to knock other kids towers, but it was a little confusing because the teachers were building towers for the kids to knock down. Confusing but… we do out best. xo
I figured you did that too.
That stuff is so hard. Without following your kid around every second you will sometime miss it when if they hurt someone else. I always say something like “Hey let’s be nice to each other” rather loudly and then normally the mum will notice and say “oh did something happen”. And yes, getting to know the other mums definitely helps. I love those phrases you are teaching S. I am going to borrow them for my little one!
Very good plan!
So glad we can help each other!!!