I took my boys to the library on Friday. In the back there is a little room for kids – it has a rocking horse and a few toys. Koa (2) was delighted with the rocking horse and got right on. Another toddler was there too with her mom. She was clearly not thrilled that Koa was on the rocking horse. She kept getting closer and closer to the horse and Koa would bat his hand at her. I knew what he was trying to say – Get away, stay back. Don’t even think about trying to take this from me.
The mom was struggling with her daughter. She was trying to leave the library but her daughter didn’t want to go. “I have to go back to work across the street and she doesn’t want to leave!” The mom told me, exasperated. She looked tired.
Koa started dragging the rocking horse over to where I was sitting. His face was worried. The little girl was following, stressed out about this situation too. The mom commented, “You get to ride that horse everyday. Let him have a turn.” The toddler was still eye balling the horse, clearly not happy that Koa was on it. Things were close to escalating.
This is one of those moments that can be so awkward for moms in a public setting with their children. I could see the mom was feeling uneasy with her child. She was ready to leave and kind of stressed out with her toddlers’ behavior. I didn’t know what to do so I just sort of started a running commentary on what was happening.
“That’s your horse isn’t it?” I said to the little girl. “You ride it everyday! You don’t want him on it.”
Then I said to Koa, “And you just want to ride it don’t you? You don’t want to share!”
The mom and I looked at these little toddlers, then looked at each other and laughed. And with that, the little girl was satisfied. She no longer wanted the horse. In fact, she actually calmed down and walked out of the library with her mom.
I was kind of amazed that the situation diffused that easily. It made me consider. When in doubt, instead of jumping right in with our solutions, telling our kids what they need to do, take a few moments to just observe. Comment on what you see. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
What do you do in those situations when you start to feel awkward with your child’s behavior?