Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Letter

Dear Other Parents in the Windsor Public Library yesterday,

I know how I probably came across. I came off like some sort of tired out, worn down mom who was constantly nagging her son and who didn't seem consistent in her discipline. And you know what? You'd be right.

To the gramma watching her granddaughter play with puppets at the "puppet theater"...thanks for being kind enough to offer for Ethan to play along with her when you saw he really wanted to do a puppet show, too. I wanted to reject the offer but you were too kind. I wanted to reject the offer because I knew what it would turn into -- Ethan's shark puppet wanting to bite and attack your granddaughter's ballerina and firefighter. I knew this because that is the one puppet show game Ethan wants to play right now. We get in an ongoing battle about the show NOT being about abusing the puppets or even the people watching, but so far that message has not sunk in. I wanted to explain things but didn't have the energy to explain things, like that my son is just starting to want to play with puppets in general and has trouble generating ideas. He couldn't just jump into your granddaughter's play scenario, so he decided to go into attack mode again. He's not just a brat, I swear. Although yesterday he was acting pretty darned bratty.

To the people around the Lego table: I'm sorry about the noise. I have told Ethan time and again he cannot play Angry Birds with the Legos, although this is his favorite game. In case you hadn't figured out, Angry Birds means making sound effects from the game and then bringing his hands over to the huge piles of Legos strewn all over the table and then smashing them. I always encourage Ethan at the Lego table because sometimes lately he has started to build and play. But the darned Legos don't stick very well to the old worn down table, and for someone who is trying to build up his hand strength and fine motor skills, it's very frustrating for him. Hence, we get Angry Birds.

And to the mom who probably didn't appreciate my son getting other kids to roll around the dirty floor, I'm sorry. Here's what you have to know: two years ago, even a year or less ago, my son didn't want to engage any other kids at the library. He wanted to run around the book stacks, try to flip the light switches, and check out the vents in the floor. Most parents would stop their kids fairly quickly if they decided to roll across the library floor, and I did try. Only, he was rolling TO other kids. He wanted to go to them and wanted them to watch him. He wanted to play with them in the log tunnel but didn't know quite how, so he was loud and slightly annoying, yelling, "I see you!" while peeking in the log over and over. And then he actually got the other kids to roll with him, and they were laughing together, and I couldn't help but be simultaneously frustrated but also proud that he was reaching out.

I know I might not have looked like I knew what I was doing. And sometimes I don't. Sometimes things that would seem unacceptable I bypass for the greater meaning in the moment. Other times I know I can't let it go on because it would set a precedent. Finding that fine line is hard at times. Especially when my son hadn't listened to me for most of the afternoon, and the usual consequences weren't getting either of us anywhere.

So please know: Just as you are hopefully trying to be the best parent you can be, I am trying. My son is trying. Sometimes "trying" looks obnoxious. Sometimes he really is being obnoxious. If I have the time, maybe sometime I'll share a little bit of my son's background. But I can't have the conversation with every parent I see. So please, try to extend grace. And I will try to do the same.

1 comment:

Annie said...

A little grace would go a long way, wouldn't it?