What Happens When Someone is More Worried About Your Kid Than You Are.
Last week while on holidays, my family went on a whale-watching tour. The boat looked very much like a pirate ship, so the kids were fairly impressed. About half way into the adventure, a visibly stressed out older woman went over to my four-year old, took him by the hand and brought him over to where I was sitting with Daddy-o and a friend. She explained that she was worried sick about him going overboard.
At first I didn’t really know what to do with that information. I knew he was not going overboard and there were three adults keeping a very close eye on him. I think in situations like this, the kneejerk reaction is to say, “Why don’t you worry about looking for whales and I’ll worry about my kid.”
Those words didn’t come out of my mouth because I didn’t feel angry or judged. She was genuinely worried, albeit unnecessarily. I wanted her to enjoy the day, so from there on in one of us adults closely followed my fully capable kid around so that she could relax. It’s probably been years since she cared for a small child, and we quickly forget what they do at different stages.
I could relate to how she was feeling. Sometimes other people’s children stress me out. If I’m at the park and there’s a child running around with a lollipop, I go out of my mind. I completely obsess to the point of ignoring my own children. I’m paralyzed with fear that the child will fall and have the lollipop lodged down their little throat.
My solution? I either have to leave the park completely, or I explain to the mother that I’m a total crackpot and beg her to humour me and take the lolly away.
While I want to enjoy my time at the park, so did this woman on the ship. It’s easy for parents to get defensive, but I found that by respecting her concerns, we had a day of smooth sailing on the high seas.
Have you ever had anyone show unnecessary concern over your child? How did you respond?
Hanging on a wall in our home is a list of basic principles that our family tries to live by. It’s a visual reminder of how we should treat each other. One of those principles is “Be quick to forgive”, and every now and again, the universe reminds me of just how important that is, too.
When I was in my first year of university, I upset one of my friends. I was mortified and apologized for my action. She forgave me, it seemed, and we moved on. But over the next couple of years, every once in a while she would remind me of that mistake. I got to the point where I just didn’t want to hear about it again and again. I sat her down and said that if she mentioned it one more time, I would have to end our friendship. She was shocked to learn how painful it was for me to be reminded of it, and completely understood. We remain extremely close today and it has never been mentioned since. In fact, so much time has passed I can’t even remember what I did in the first place.
This brings me to an incident that occurred this week. I made a mistake with one of my kids that left him in a potentially dangerous situation. I was horrified, upset and my confidence was completely shaken. I couldn’t sleep for days.
What was remarkable about the situation was that even though I made an outrageous mistake with one of the kids, Daddy-o supported me completely and kept telling me what an amazing mom I am. I found this remarkable because I know what I would have done if it had been him that made the same mistake. I would have been unforgiving. I probably would have told him that he can’t be trusted. I would have made him feel like a complete failure. But he didn’t do any of that to me.
So it has been a week of big reminders and even bigger lessons for this mama. The most important lesson being that I’m going to pay closer attention to the family principle of being quick to forgive.
Are there double standards of forgiveness in your house? Are you forgiving with your partner?
Apparently I blinked. And suddenly, my sixth child will be starting Junior Kindergarten in September.
Six kids in elementary school. There was a time I never thought I’d see the day, and now I feel like I don’t want to see the day.
My other five children attended kindergarten for half days every day. It suited us perfectly. We established a nice daily routine. On the days I worked, Nanny Hazel was there for them, so I never had daycare issues or logistics to juggle.
Next year, our school is providing full day kindergarten – every single day. I’m just not sure how I feel about this.
My teacher friends assure me that it’s play-based and kid-directed. Children move at individual levels and are free to let their own interests guide their learning.
But then I’m left wondering:
- If I don’t have to send my kid, should he go? He’ll be in the “system” for a heck of a long time. Do I need my four-year old to be gone all day, every day?
- If I don’t send him, is he going to somehow fall behind or not be as stimulated as the other children?
Look at how things are done in Finland. Finnish kids start school at 7-years old, get 75 minutes of recess a day and don’t have exams or homework until they are teens. Yet Finland’s schools get top ranking for international education systems.
Then sometimes I think that I’m just in denial that my baby is growing up. When you’ve had babies at home as long as I have, it feels just plain weird to think about an empty house with no more daytime play dates, walks, or Mommy and Me gymnastics.
So, what do you think? Full-day kindergarten – yes or no?