This is not a post with all the right answers. This is raw post about how I’m feeling after leaving a play area with my head down, sons in tow, yogurt spit up on my shoulder, and mumbling apologies on my way out of the room.
I’ve prayed a lot of prayers over my son these 3 years. I wonder what his little personality would bloom into. I wonder what kind of activities he will be into. Sports? Theatre? Music? Ribbon Dancing? But I can say with complete honesty, aside from him having a passionate connection to the Lord, the thing I pray for the most is that he’ll be kind. I don’t care if he isn’t popular, smart, or good looking. I just want him to be kind.
Perhaps that’s why I took his actions so personally today. We were at one of those indoor play areas where cooped up moms go to let their cooped up PNW kids run around out of the rain. They have a little cafe with food and drinks where we can pretend that we’ll be able to drink a tea while it’s still hot when really all it’s there for is so we can take one day off of making lunch on a Lightening McQueen plate. I was getting the baby settled into the infant cage made of styrofoam and activity blocks (they should use that description on the packaging) when I heard another mom yell, “No! We do NOT hit!” I thought to myself, “Oh how embarrassing, her delinquent chi- oh SHIZ, she’s talking to my kid. That’s my delinquent child!” I made sure the baby was
relatively secure and I ran over to see what happened. Apparently Bud hit this little boy over a toy. Great. GREAT. We went through the “I’m dorry” song and dance and I apologized as well. Bud sat in time out and we talked about how we never use our hands like that, we always want to be kind, etc. etc. And after a few minutes, I let him play again.
Why did he hit? I realize it’s developmentally normal for them to feel out boundaries and physical aggression but the only things going through my mind were:
– That was humiliating.
– What if he is the bully?
– What if they think he sees that at home?
– How should I discipline that?
– Should I have just hid in the baby cage and yelled, “Whose kid is that?!”
Then after we finished lunch (aka a $5 PB&J) I was getting Bennett Rippy settled into the carseat and gave Bud the 5 minute warning. (You know the one that you give 15 minutes before you need to leave?) Well, I look over and there’s an adorable tiny little angel girl standing in front of him and he’s just standing there looking at her.
What’s he doing? How is this going to play out? Is he going to kiss her? What does he want? Should I sing some song from Daniel the Tiger about how it’s not polite to stare? Why is he just standing in front of her?
Then he pushes her down. Not hard, but a little shove and she falls down.
And again, ONCE MORE WITH FEELING, we did the “I’m dorry” song and dance. I talk to him about never using our hands that way, walking in kindness, and I tell him that he’s lost his privilege to stay there and we leave.
On the way out, I asked him why he pushed her and he said, “She looked into my eyes.”
I try to do the math of how much money I lost since we were leaving after an hour instead of the two that he was supposed to be there while I made my way out of the room feeling the daggers of the moms who are NOT wearing stained jeans and HAVE washed their hair being shot into my back. I swear I heard applause after we left the room. I fought back the tears as we made our way to the car and I tried to come up with the after school special speech that I was going to give Bud on the way home.
I’ve tried to make sense of it, but honestly, the only thing I’ve come up with is this: he’s my sweet kid who is going to make some bad choices. I can do the best I can to show him grace, patience, and kindness at home. I can do the best I can to show everyone we meet grace, patience, and kindness so he can see that’s what people deserve. I can continue to discipline him when he acts unkind and aggressively. I can pray like crazy over his heart so that it is full of kindness instead of anger. But most importantly, I cannot place my shame onto him because he doesn’t act perfectly all the time. The last thing in the world I want for him is to feel anything short of complete, all-in grace and love from me. THAT is what will mold him into a kind man.
Or I could just hide in the baby cage and yell, “Whose kid is that?!”