12 Apr Three Vignettes
Afraid of Your Child
I recently was sitting in a coffee shop. A young couple sipped on their coffee near me and talked about buying a new stove. All the while their young boy kicked the leg of his father’s chair. The boy’s mother asked him to stop, which fueled the child’s determination to destroy their time. The young father asked his son again to stop and more kicks ensued. I was of course riveted. The stove conversation continued and yet so did the kicking. At last the boy kicked his father’s leg. He looked at his wife and said, “Now what?” The pale mother said, “Ethan you will have to sit in your room when we go home.”
“Ooooh, for how long?”
“Not too long but for a while.”
“No I won’t!”
The silent father looked at his phone as the boy began to kick his chair again.
“I’ve got it. If you can stop now, we will go to the toy shop later.”
“I want to go now!! You said I was getting a toy. Now Daddy, now!’
The stove conversation was definitely put on hold. Ethan blew his straw wrapper onto the floor. No one said a thing. They cleaned up their table and left as Ethan ran out the door, down the sidewalk, screaming, “Toy shop now!!”
I was never happier to see three people leave anywhere, in my life. It was sad and ridiculous that the parents were beyond clueless. They were afraid to say very much to him. They were miserable with their own little boy.
Another man said. “Boy do they have their hands full.”
I smiled. “I don’t think the stove is going to show up anytime soon. I bet good old Ethan will be holding a new toy in a few minutes.”
It is too frequent to see well-meaning parents unwittingly perpetuate what is driving them nuts. They were so happy to talk about the idea of getting a new stove. By not telling the little boy to cool it right off the bat, their happy time was eclipsed. The little boy felt delight as well as power. Yet he really didn’t get what he really wanted, even at the toyshop. Maybe next time, they will tell Ethan that because he wrecked their time, he was staying home with a capable and firm babysitter. When they do decide to venture forth with Ethan, they should let him know what they expect from him in advance. If he does do things which disrupt their family outing, they should leave immediately, no matter what. No prizes should be offered.
Talking Too Much
A mother took her little girl out of her car seat. “Lilly, you can’t run. If you do you might get hurt. If you fall, your new pink tights might get dirty. We don’t have time to go home and change. We don’t have any wipes or band-aids so you just can’t run.”
The funny thing is that Lilly had no interest in running. She was only interested in looking at a dog that was walking by.
“Mommy, what is this flower called?”
Jane’s mother said, “That is a snowdrop.”
“Is that really snow on top?”
“Oh no, but it does look like it. They are flowers that often peek through the snow before the others and don’t mind the very cold days.”
“I love them.”
“I do too and look at these, Jane. These are crocuses.”
“I love them. Yellow and purple and white ones. They are little friends, right Mommy?”
“Yes. They grow happily together.”
They walked along. “Mommy, a teeny snowdrop next to crocus friends.”
“Oh yes, and look a daffodil too!”
“He is taller! I love all these flowers. Let’s find more, okay Mommy?
Written by – Anne Martine Cook. Anne has 40+ years experience teaching nursery school children.
We welcome your comments and questions.