Monday, September 14, 2009

The new pledge class...

I remember, as a parent of a toddler under or right around 2, my disdain for the 3 year olds at the playground. They ran too fast, always pushing and shoving while climbing over the little ones to get to the slide first. I watched, annoyed, while my little guy grasped a rail with wide eyes, bigger kids running amok without a hint of concern for anyone else. Sometimes there would be an outright push. Some little dude would walk right up to Sam and shove him onto his butt. This, from a smiling little 3 year old. SMILING! As they push my kid! Oh, how I tried to remember they're really just babies themselves.

Well, now I'm the one with the 3 year old (well almost 3). And just last week? He pushed a boy not yet 2. For what appeared to be sport.

Sam was all kinds of worked up by the time we got to the playground (thank you cinnamon scone) and was pretty much just running in circles by himself. The cutest little curly haired 2 year old saw him and with a gleeful laugh, started chasing him. Sam ramped it up a little and was laughing himself, but began to kinda go crazy. Any mother of a toddler knows what I mean. Giggling is good, but the high pitched manic squeal, with flailing appendages and gutteral vibrations...it's basically a warning signal that someone is about to get hurt. You don't know who...but someone. There is a lack of stability in the air, and it's only a matter of time before something or someone comes crashing down.

Per usual, it was Sam. Only this time it wasn't physically, it was...oh, I don't know, composure? He got all atwitter and lost the nice part of him somewhere.

He stopped running, and the little boy stopped right behind him. Both had these huge smiles. But Sam's was a little less 'joyous play' and little more 'insane asylum.' Breathing heavy Sam turned around, and practically vibrating, just shoved the poor little guy...right on his butt. Oh Sam. AND of course I was nursing Joe at the time. So, with screaming baby detached from his lunch, I walk over and take Sam by the hand and have THE TALK. You know, "we don't push...that isn't nice...you need to apologize" blah, blah, blah. I'm pretty sure that's all he heard, 'blah, blah, blah' - as he wiggled and stomped his feet in a spazzy jig. He did apologize, but in that sing-songy, totally insincere way children do. Ugh. Then into the stroller and home we went, explaining that we can't stay and play if he can't play nice.

I know this is no strange occurrence. No horrible tragedy. They all do it. Kids need to learn by experience, and Sam is learning what is acceptable and what is not. He's a pretty great kid, and though very physical, it's rarely been with malice. But he's getting older, and with that comes so many complexities. I suppose this is a little taste of what is to come. All the innocence still to be chipped away by life. And in life, sometimes, you get pushed. And he has gotten pushed plenty. So maybe now he sees his opportunity to dish it out in return. Like some frat boy whose been itchin' to force some poor freshmen to clean his car with a toothbrush, just because he had to do it once. Who knows. I'll just be keeping an eye out and trying my best to reinforce what Sam already knows. And what he knows is right. Foster the natural sweetness and generosity I love so much in him. And if there is any inclination of some warped Golden Rule of 'someone did it to me, so now I get to do it to you' mentality, he doesn't need to look far to realize how dangerous that sort of thinking can be...



2 comments:

Mrs. Brown said...

this post made my morning. the memories of angus at age three while noah was a mere one are coming back hard and fast. i love your writing, k. it's so honest and relatable. and now that noah is just weeks from age three, i see all of this starting to emerge in him, too. i am going to send this post to my girlfriend whose nearly 2 year old hangs out with noodle and is the wide-eyed younger recipient of noodle's three-year-olness. it may help her understand him a bit more and maybe see that he really isn't evil after all. :)

KL said...

Thanks holly. It means so much to know I'm not alone, and that Sam is not the only kid who struggles with self control. That you find me relatable makes my day :) Happy birthday Noah! can't wait to see pics on flickr.