Confession: My favorite part of fast food lunch is the part where my kids play in the play area while I relax with a soda and, hopefully, one of my besties.
This is about as close as I get to a vacation
And as luck would have it, I got to spend some wonderful time doing just this thing today. As I sat down watching all three of my kids playing happily, I thought, this is the life. The Cherry Coke was perfection. The French fries, life changing. And the conversation with my friends – PRICELESS.
So imagine my horror when a Mom popped her head out of the play area today and asked, “Is one of you the Mom of the boy in the yellow shirt?”
My heart sank as I thought about how the yellow shirt was really yellow pajamas – but she was too kind to mention it. Then my heart sank further because my son had done something so egregious that this Mother had needed to come seek me out. As I admitted, “He’s mine” I began to mentally prepare for the news to come. Had he bitten someone? Did he shove someone down the stairs? Was he blocking the slide? I had thought he was playing nicely as I watched him through the glass. I know kids and I know things can change fast though, so I steeled myself.
I braced for impact.
“Well, he just went up to my son and roared in his face.”
“Oh! Oh, okay!”
“My son didn’t like it at all.”
“Oh, um, right, yeah, no, I’ll take care of that.”
And now I had to engage in a fake apology tour. Because clearly “Well, it’s not like he punched your kid” wasn’t going to be a welcome response. I entered the play area and called Cole over. I asked what had happened and allowed my son to go on and on and on about how the boy had teased him and said mean things and how he told him to stop but he wouldn’t so he roared in his face. Just in case Overbearing Mom missed it I repeated, “OH, so he called you names and wasn’t being nice and didn’t listen to your words? I’m sorry that happened to you, but remember, if he won’t stop when you ask him too what else can you do besides yelling? You can come get Mommy, right?”
Shockingly, this Mom didn’t seem to notice our exchange.
But it got me wondering, why do we expect more out of 4 year olds than we do out of adults? I’m constantly teaching my son what to do before tattling to me – try to solve the problem, use your words, yet at the first “roar” this Mom didn’t feel she could say, “Hey friend, it looks like Snowflake doesn’t like that, how about we try using our words, okay?”
So as Mothers, let’s be problem solvers, not tattle tales. Let’s engage, not report. And for God sakes, let’s let our kids roar once in a while.