Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Life lessons for mother and child

I felt sort of emotional while out and about with my son today. For one thing, I love seeing him interacting with people, especially when it's successful.

As we walked down the sidewalk, he suddenly dropped to his knees to inspect some ants, right by an older lady who was taking a breather. She was just tickled pink. I didn't want to speak English and kind of interrupt the moment, but I didn't want it to seem like I wasn't engaged, either...the usual dilemma. But I liked seeing her get a chuckle. Then he said "poka" (see ya) to her, and I told him to say "Do svidanya" instead. And he said, "she's somebody's Nina!" He thinks all women around his grandmother Nina's age have the same role in life! :)

Next, the grocery store for some carrots. David is liking a book called "Carrot Soup," and specifically asked to go to the store to buy some. How could I pass up a chance to feed him vegetables?

We usually say hi and bye to the security guards at the store. It's interesting that David chooses them in particular. I wonder if it's anything to do with the security guards usually being migrants themselves, or if D. just sees them as the hosts, like we're coming to visit them. When we were on our way out, he yelled "Do svidanya, Dyadya!" and the security guard was busy with something, so David ran all the way over to say it again and make sure the guy had heard. So funny!

I was talking to a Russian mom friend recently about this age of innocence being threatened. It's so heart-breaking to see children learning how cruel people can be. It's so hard to see them face rejection for the first time. They are still so self-centered at this age, yet at the same time so sincere.

We stopped at the playground and David went up to several children and said hello, and most didn't react. He seems to alternate between being friendly and feeling threatened, and I'm not quite sure what criteria he uses. When he is playing with a toy he often expects that other children will want to take it away, and then he will turn around and offer it to someone to play with. He tried for several minutes to share his toy plane with a younger toddler, and she just looked at him!

(Not quite sure what he's looking at, just enjoying the moment!)

I was feeling lonely and anti-social at the same time. A few mothers (whom I'd seen once or twice before) were yakking about a trip to the pediatrician or something. How the toddler had thrown a fit, and what to do. I didn't want to be talking about that. I was glad to have the freedom to just watch David run around. But at the same time, I wished I had the guts to randomly start talking to the other parents/grandparents. It reminded me a little of my relationships with other ex-pats. A lot of times I'm fine to avoid contact, as we can get to focusing on our common grievances too much, or gossiping. But at the same time the common ground can be a blessing and provide some much-needed fellowship.

Meanwhile, David was fascinated by a little girl a few years older, who was drumming on the guard rail with a stick. And then her mom would clap. He found a stick, ran over and started drumming, and instructed me to clap. Then he tried so hard to impress that girl! He ran after her, and she didn't want him to. She ran to her mother. I tried to explain that she didn't want to play. "But I WANT her!" Then he gave up the chase, and that piqued her interest! "Come chase me!" she called. "Boy!" And he reminded her, "I'm DAVID!" Then she invited him to see-saw with her, and once he understood he said "Yes, of course!" And off they went, and they didn't even need me! Ahhh, young love.


  1. I've been having lots of "playground" moments like these here in Florida. I suppose it is because a) I have more time with no responsibilities and b) there is a playground across the street. Ordinarily there is no one on it. Partly for this reason, and mostly because this is just the way I am - I play WITH Monica on the equipment. I'm afraid she might fall. She asks me to go with her. Seems reasonable. When other children ride by or walk by on the sidewalk, she is SO intrigued, and the few times a mom has brought someone by her age, she's been SO excited....but then too overwhelmed to play with them. With the little girl Sophie, she tried to show off a bit, and she tried to get a little soccer game going...but Sophie was not into it. When the little boy, Jamie, came by - she "interacted" with him - laughing, smiling and clapping, until he began to come in her direction, then she'd freeze up and cling to me. When he finally got right up to her, and stole the pacifier out of her mouth and popped it into his own - she WAS surprised!

    Now, me. I didn't do so well either. These other moms were more the "stand there and watch" type, and that made me feel so self-conscious about being on the equipment myself! Especially because I am so much older than they are, and a bit more "dressed up" (one day actually wearing a nice dress) while they were standing there in athletic gear playing with their phones or sitting on the bench.

    I did try a couple of conversation starters that didn't go too far. Oh, well.

    One day three older (second grade) boys came by, and were all very excited about talking to me. One even asked me if I was a teacher, though I can't for the life of me imagine why he thought that. I guess I should be a teacher since my own social interactions seem to work best with the school-aged set.

  2. The playground parenting debate can get rather nasty! Honestly, on a public playground with strangers, I would play it safe. And I don't consider 2-3 years old to be old enough to defend oneself. While I don't agree with being all "fussy," I see nothing wrong with playing WITH a child. But I think you hit on something there in that you have fewer responsibilities than usual. It's funny how playing with my own child can seem like such a drag sometimes and then I catch myself being playful with friends' kids. Playing with my son is my job, and sometimes "keeps" me from taking care of other responsibilities. So it seems like a hindrance sometimes, even though of course it is a privilege, too. I have gotten "looks" about letting D. stomp in puddles. Well, he and I have had our chat, and we have come to our own agreement, which is nobody else's business! I also think that the adult-child ratio has to be just right. With an adult for every child, it feels stifling. But too many kids can be a bit chaotic. I think it's fun that the kids like to talk to you. I would love to talk to kids more, but as I said, there are often too many adults around.

    1. Yes; I think I could talk to the second grade boys mainly because their moms were NOT there. You have to be so careful what you say to other people's children when they are there! I hear tell (glad I missed it) that a few years ago in our very staid church, one father criticized the church manners of another man's son, and they two got into a fistfight right there. Kind of a startling idea...but goes to show.


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