Big and I have been having some discussions lately about Shorty’s personality and the pros and cons of him being a stay-at-home-kid. We’ve had some events in the recent weeks that have given us an interesting glimpse into our son’s personality. Now we’re wondering what to do about it and the reactions it brings out in us.
Although we’ve noticed this particular trait in our son before it’s only been the last week that we’ve discussed it in earnest. It all started last week when we took Shorty to the Please Touch Museum. It was crowded because apparently everyone was on holiday break and thought it would be a good time to take the kids to see the new digs. We were in the transportation room and Shorty was waiting in line to sit in one of the cars. When it was Shorty’s turn two brothers, about four and six, butted in just as Big was about to place Shorty in the car and started to pretend to drive. Big and I looked at each other fully annoyed (I mean where were their parents?) and expecting Shorty to put up a protest. But Shorty didn’t even flinch. So when the boys were done Big once again tried to put Shorty in the car, only to have yet another kid around five or six try to butt in front and push us out of the way. This time my mama bear instincts kicked in. I gently placed my hand on the boy’s shoulder and nicely explained that my son had been waiting and was next in line. (At least this child’s mother, who had just caught up with him, backed me up and explained to her son that it was rude to butt in line and apologized to us).
So, Shorty got his turn in the car and we moved on. In the Nature Pond, Shorty and another little boy were sliding down the slide happily taking turns when a little girl came charging up the steps, pushed Shorty out of the way and slid down the slide. Again Big and I expected some kind of protest or cry from Shorty. Again, nothing. So the little Amazon Warrior (as there was nothing dainty or gentle about this girl) continued to steam roll over Shorty and the other boy while her grandfather yelled from the other side of the fence for her to “slow down.”
Um, let me interject here for a moment on my thoughts about this particular grandfather and child. I was ready to punch grandpop in the face and tell him that when a child is being rude and obnoxious good parenting or care-giving necessitates you GO TO THE CHILD and remind them that they must wait their turn and not push or kick other people. You do not stand five feet away simply yelling SLOW DOWN. Apparently, this kid is allowed to get away with murder because when her grandfather told her it was time to leave the Nature Pond she screamed, “I hate you!” and no one reprimanded her.
Okay, I feel better having gotten that off my chest and can now proceed with my story. So Amazon Warrior is still doing her act and once again my mama bear instincts kicked in. Shorty was still on the slide when this girl would start sliding down as well and then once she caught up she’d kick until Shorty go out of her way. After watching this once and then seeing it about to happen a second time I put my arm out and stopped her progress down the slide until Shorty was safely out of the way.
It is not normally my nature to touch other people’s children or to say anything to them, but since her own family was not playing by normal playground courtesy rules I had to take manners into my own hands to protect my child. Sorry, but when it comes to situations in which my child could be physically injured I will take my chances that another parent will take offense with my actions.
Anyhow, this is starting to become a post more about me and less about Shorty and his personality and our parenting dilemma. So, let me get back on track …
We’ve also seen Shorty’s laid back personality when he is with friends. He has one friend who is a little possessive about his belongings and has been known to say, “Mine,” and try to discourage the other kids from playing with whatever it is that he wants at that moment. Shorty takes it in stride even when it’s his own toys that he is being excluded from using. Shorty just looks at the kid and goes and plays with something else. It has never become a crying bout or a tug of war over the toy. He simply reacts like he’s thinking, “Well, okay if that is how you feel then I’ll just let you have the toy and move to something else that’s interesting.”
So, Big and I don’t quite know what to make of this. Is Shorty intimidated and too afraid to stand up for himself? Somehow we don’t think so as he is very determined when it comes to other things that he wants. We are starting to think that maybe he’s just one of those easy going people who feels that it’s more trouble than it’s worth to make a fuss when you can easily play with something else or wait another minute for your turn to come again.
But I have to tell you it bothers Big and I a little bit to see our son get pushed around even if it doesn’t seem to bother Shorty. It’s just parental nature to want to protect your child and we’re wondering if at some point Shorty will be hurt, not just physically but emotionally, by some other kid who is less laid back or more aggressive than he is.
We’ve decided to keep a closer eye on things and make sure that nothing happens that will hurt or scare Shorty. We feel that if we think Shorty needs some lessons on how to stand up for himself then we’ll teach him. We certainly don’t want to make him aggressive or rude or encourage him to bully anyone else. We just want to make sure he understands that it’s not okay for others to be rude to him.
Big and I are actually quite pleased that our child is so gentle and loving. He’s not at all possessive about his toys and is an extremely good sharer especially for a child who is not around other children on a daily basis. He has never said, “mine,” as so many children his age typically do. He also enjoys playing alone even when he is with friends and seems to have a better attention span and is content to play quietly with one toy for pretty long periods of time before he gets bored and moves to the next thing.
We’re also wondering if any of this would be different if I was not a stay-at-home-mom and he were in daycare. Would he be more aggressive because even in the best daycare the teacher can’t have her eyes and hands everywhere at once and kids learn to fend for themselves more? Would he be more apt to utter the words mine because he was used to having to share everything with so many other children?
We’re not about to enroll him in daycare just to find out if Shorty’s personality is nature or a factor of environment. We’re just happy he is such a good natured little guy and we’ll deal with whatever situation comes up. It has been interesting though to see how protective Big and I are feeling towards our little man. I guess, along with the all consuming love, protectiveness comes with being a parent.