Thursday, May 8, 2008

Respectful vs. Sucker

It is so hard to find a good balance between teaching our children to share, respect others, take turns, wait in line and to be a doormat, sucker, wallpaper. Today I watched what I thought was that line crossed so here I am writing. :)

I always try to make sure that I am right there to tell Ari, do not take that toy they are playing with, wait your turn, be patient, share what you have been playing with for a while, etc. I also make sure that she sees me advocate for her though when other children aren't playing by those rules. If she has just started playing with something, that is not a share time, that is the time when the other child needs to learn not to take someone else's toy. When she has been waiting patiently to take a turn on something, I make sure she gets her turn at the right time. I do not allow another child to walk all over her rights as much as I don't let Ari walk on other people's rights.

Today at an indoor play place we like to go to, Ari and I were playing in one area that had a little kids roller coaster type thing and at the end of it, there are soft blocks that you can make a tower to ride through if you so choose. Next to us were two moms chatting away. They each had a boy around 4 or 5 years old and one had a little girl around a year. We will call them Mom A, who has just Little Boy A, and Mom B with Little Boy B and Little Girl B. Little Boy A was trying to build himself a tower to then rise through but it was taking a while because it kept falling over. Ari and I were playing with something else, but she ended up taking an interest in the roller coaster. I was about to tell her she could go after Little Boy A. Mom A stepped in and said, Little Boy A should let Ari have a turn. I wanted to tell her that it was okay he had been working on this tower for a while, etc., but I don't like to contradict a mom trying to teach her child a life lesson like sharing so I went with it. I made sure to tell Ari how nice it was for the boy to have built us a tower, to thank him, and that he was going to have his turn as soon as she was done. We took our turn and kept playing in the area with something else. Little Boy A starts building his tower again. A little boy about one walks into the area unattended and keeps knocking this boys tower over. The little boys mom isn't around to correct it, and Little Boy A's mom isn't doing anything about it either. I wasn't really involved so I wasn't sure what I should do, but I know that if it was Ari working so hard, I would have actively distracted this little child away from the tower so she could build it.

Anyway, the little boy finally distracted himself elsewhere and Little Boy A was starting to make progress on his tower when Little Boy B runs up, sits on the roller coaster thingie, and says it is his turn and that Little Boy A should make him a tower. Little Boy A tries to say it is his turn, but both mother's are ignoring the whole affair and the one sitting down, Little Boy B, wins. He builds the tower and right before Little Boy B starts to go, Little Girl B comes up to her brother wanting a turn and her mom says to Little Boy B, "You can take your turn, but it is her turn next." So... right after Little Boy B, Little Girl B gets to go. My heart was breaking for Little Boy A. He had been trying so hard to make himself a tower to go just once and he was being so very patient and he just kept getting pushed off. I did the only thing an outsider could possibly do, since I'm not his mother, I told him how patient he was being and that it was so nice of him to build the towers for the other children.

In my book, if you are going to interfere with normal child interactions where they need to resolve their own conflicts with might to teach respecting each other, then you also need to interfere in a way that advocates for your child so they learn not only do others need to get respect, but that they deserve to demand respect from others in kind. Otherwise, just step out of it entirely so you don't demolish their self worth.

Kindness and respect are a two way road.

Ari's Language Leap

Ari has been speaking so much lately. The latest bought of not sleeping through the night has been punctuated with her unable to sleep so she cries and I go in to her, I do the normal check the pacifier, check for froggy, rub on the head and leave. When she really can't sleep, she cries again like she has been and now that she is in her big girl bed, I lay down next to her. As I lay there praying we both just fall asleep, Ari chats and chats and chats. I'm not really sure I remember to well what she was talking about, but it was pretty much anything. She was running the gambit. In between bits of conversation she would reach over and kindly pat my head. LOL Sweet but it also kept me from falling asleep. We see these times of bad sleep as her leaping forward in something. In the past it was practicing crawling, pulling up, walking, etc. Now it is sentence forming and understanding and describing concepts and the world around her.

The other day Daddy and Ari were playing with a plastic gardening claw that I had gotten her. It still had the tag attached by a plastic ring. She said, "Take it off." So I responded, "Okay, I'll go get the scissors." Ari said, "Mommy going to get scissors to cut it off." 8 Words! We couldn't believe it. Her longest sentence yet!

People who know Ari also know that since she was little she has been fascinated by letters and numbers and anything to do with them. The other day in the shower, she grabbed one of her shower crayons and wrote an H, an A, and a T. HAT! She has spelled her first word by herself! It was messy, obviously, but it was definitely HAT. I was so excited for her. She's been practicing for so long.

Okay... that is the Ari update for today. Next post is of the parenting style type. :)