I’m probably the only Mother on the planet who purposely taught her two-year old to throw a fit. But that’s exactly what I did when the noisy boys were toddlers. I had noticed a disturbing trend at playgroups, mostly with Twin A. He was so easygoing that other kids would grab his toys, push him down, whatever, and he wouldn’t make a peep. While I was grateful for his sweet nature, I didn’t want to set him up to be bullied his entire life.
And so I taught him how to assert himself.
“I’m playing with this right now.”
“I’ll give you a turn in just a minute.”
“Don’t push me.”
“May I please have a turn?”
I was remembering these lessons this past Saturday. With Llama Papa busy on household projects and baby b. up early from his nap, I gathered up the three boys and headed to one of our favorite play spots--the children's museum. One of our favorite areas to play is the air / ball / boat section. The noisy boys can literally spend hours there.
And so they settled in while baby b. toddled around, squealing happily. Twin A. manned the cannon, stuffing fuzzy balls in and shooting them out into the wooden boat while Twin B. built air-ball shooters out of pvc pipe. Everyone was having a great time until Twin A. realized that the kid in the boat, a boy about seven years old, wasn’t throwing the balls back out. He was hoarding them under his jacket on the floor of the boat. At my prodding, Twin A. boldly asked him to throw the balls out. Please.
But the boy didn’t want to throw the balls out.
And so I asked him if we could please have a few of the balls. (There were over fifty fuzzy balls in the boat at this point.) He grudgingly obliged.
“Maybe if you explain the game to the boy, he’ll understand and want to play,” I offered, handing the confiscated balls to A.
“No,” he said. “I don’t think he wants to play. I’ll just move the cannon.”
And so he continued with his happy play. Other kids joined him and they simply shot the balls at other targets, away from the boat.
This was a good reminder to me. Sometimes we need to confront people. And sometimes we just need to move the cannon.
(By the way, for you local Moms reading: this is prime children's museum season. The closer we get to Christmas, the emptier the museum gets. I'm not kidding. The week before Christmas this place is empty! So take a tip from the Llama Momma: shop online and skip the mall. Go to the museum instead!)