Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Adventures at Storytime

Oh man.

I had one of those moments this morning. One of those moments when I think, with utter conviction, that I am never going to take my child out in public again.

Yes, we went to storytime again today. What is it with our downtown library? Does it just attract really docile children, or do the parents self-select? Anyway, once again, I had the wild man in the room.

It wasn't too terrible when he flung a fistful of graham crackers around the room, thus provoking looks of alarm from nearby mothers. And at least he didn't do anything bad when the little girl next to us kept stealing his hat from the top of our diaper bag. And he smiled nicely and said "hi!" to the little new-walker who kept toddling over to look at us during the songs and stories.

But oh, when it was time to go sit on the edge of the stage, he managed to push the much-smaller, new-walking toddler next to him. The little guy staggered, and of course since it was up front, EVERYONE SAW. And the storytime lady even picked the little fellow up. And his mom gasped and ran up there. William darted back toward me, but what could I do? I scolded him and told him not to do that anymore, and I apologized to the mother, who said it was okay and that her son hadn't even fallen down.

But still! What can I do? I can't have a kid who pushes other kids like that. I always correct him when he does that sort of thing, but he still does it. Not all the time but he still does it. I'm almost to the point where I'd rather only take him around much older children because he can take care of himself--and the other kids can certainly take care of themselves. I don't have to worry about him pushing a four-year-old down and possibly hurting him. If an older kid pushes him down, he usually gets right back up and keeps going, no problem. And at least I can comfort him if he's hurt, which he usually isn't, and not have to worry about all the other parents glaring at me and my child.

The thing is, William is two. I think he's a pretty typical two-year-old. He shares...sometimes. He gets territorial...sometimes. He gets grouchy or restless...sometimes. Sometimes he hugs and kisses other kids, and other times, he shoves them. The rational part of me knows that this is all a learning process. He's learning how to behave around other children, and all I can reasonably do is expose him to other children and correct any misbehavior. And that there will be failures and triumphs, both.

But it's easy to get discouraged when it seems like all the other kids in the room are these docile little kids who are content to sit in Mama's lap or right next to her and never do anything that would warrant a correction at all. Aren't there other rambunctious two-year-old boys out there? Do I need to start frequenting monster truck ralleys or something instead of storytime?

And here's another thing: William genuinely likes storytime. He responds well. He loves the song about rainbows, and he loves the puppets. He gets a huge kick out of watching the storytime guy juggle, and he even pays attention to the books at least half the time. It's not fair to keep him away from something like that, where he seems to be both actively learning and enjoying himself. I just need to find some way to manage him better.


NervousKitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NervousKitty said...

There are definitely rambunctious little GIRLS out there, I can tell you that much! I haven't done storytime in a long time, but you know what trying to go to a restaurant is like. Or the grocery store, or pretty much anywhere if her dad is around.

I wish I had actual advice, but I hope knowing you're not the only one helps!

(Sorry about the delete - I thought I was using a different account, but what the hell, I'll keep this one. I haven't updated my blog in ages and ages, though.)

heide said...

Aw, Jenn, William's behavior is completely normal. I don't know who all those other freaks are at story time, but all the things W is doing are normal for a 2 year old. He's big enough that he barrels over smaller kids, but he's young enough that he doesn't have empathy and understand why he shouldn't push them around. Lachlan's the same way. I just watch out for pushing opportunities and try to steer him in another direction. We're around younger kids a lot and I always am feeling like L's a big bully, but it really is normal.

You just have to keep correcting and eventually he'll get it. Meanwhile, that storytime sounds fantastic and you definitely should keep taking W.