Friday, March 22, 2013

Sharing with a Capital "H"

(Hazel with her "binki-blanket," the one item besides the letter "H," I will not require her to share)

Have I mentioned I have added two  huge owl appliques over holes, and a new boarder as a means to making it last?

From the first time Hazel discovered the letter "H" on the story time library carpet, it has been "her's".  It isn't just the library carpet, she pens it on any surface that can conceivably be labeled.  She loves it.  She owns it, and beware the person who tries to say otherwise.  You will no doubt get her evil eye, accompanied by hands on the hips, with a wrinkled nose that will not tolerate anything else.  You could try, but don't say that I didn't warn you.  You may be snubbed for life.
It was "Carter day", the day Hazel (my 4 yr old) anxiously awaits every Wednesday.  It is a day of meeting at the library with her cousin Carter for story time, and then a play time at alternating houses each week.  It is the best day of the week! The two of them play for hours without too much friction, and an ongoing sense of kid-freedom from  their mothers.  It is the relationship that all mom hope to find, wherein the children cancel each other out.
I happened to have the little ones prior to story time, while their mom was accumulating a wooden crate that the two of us have been converting into chicken coops (that is a story for an upcoming post).  I was getting to story time just as it was beginning   The children ran in while I was returning some books. Hazel found her letter "H" along with a sweet little girl (who no-doubt also thought that it belonged to her).  She immediately made the mistake known and quickly evicted the girl.
I reentered the room only to see my child not being kind, considerate, or sensitive to the other girls feelings.  As any good mother, I immediately grabbed her by her arms and headed for the door.  Immediately it was tears, followed by her trademark "Hag Fish slime".  She was inconsolable.  The tears were flowing, sobbing, probably a combination of guilt and extreme sadness due to her not getting her letter, or story time. 
We sat on the bench just outside of story time, by the front door and check-out desk as she continued to melt down.  I was (as any good parent should do) trying to convince her of her wrong, encourage her to pick a different letter and to feel sorry for hurting the other little girl.  It wasn't working.  So we sat. She sad, me trying to figure out what to do.
My nephews and their mom were in story time, I had the car seats and she had boxes in her car, it was cold outside (Hazel wasn't wearing a coat)...we were stuck for the moment.  After about 10 minutes a older lady confronted me and in a not-so-pleasant way, told me I needed to make my child stop crying (as if I wasn't already trying to) she also said that if I couldn't, then I should leave.  She said her crying was bothering her and others who had come here to the library, and I shouldn't allow my child to be upset in the library...(that is the gist of it, but it was worse).  I responded as cool and collected as I could, and asked her if she wanted to try calming her down?  Ugh...the point is I felt horrible.
I felt horrible that Hazel didn't get to do story time, sad that she had hurt another little girl without a shade of remorse, felt hurt that someone would show such a lack of compassion to my predicament, and frustrated that I had unknowingly offended someone else.  It was such a complex level of emotion that would bother me all day.
My hubby has been out of town all week, and I could possibly be a little more sensitive in the lack of his presence, but the emotions were still so real and bothersome. Why couldn't I just brush it off?  Why was I feeling so vulnerable to the lady at the library?  Why can't I teach my child to share, to be kind or why couldn't I control the situation more effectively???
Being the wise sister-in law that she is, later in the day when she was picking up her son and I was discussing how I was having a hard time letting it go, she mentioned to me something she had read once (here is the link, I found it and read up on it a bit) about little children not being capable of sinning but rather, making mistakes.  The difference being, with sin it is an active choice and follows a process of remorse,  restitution etc.  Mistakes on the other hand, are actions lacking either knowledge or understanding.  It isn't premeditated, or possibly even recognized as a wrongful doing.  It is just a result of a choice, albeit a wrong one.
This brought me some peace in acknowledging that Hazel was somewhat justified in her actions.  She wasn't purposefully trying to hurt someone else,. she merely wanted what she wrongfully assumed was hers.  I too, wasn't seeking the opportunity to make this woman's library experience a bad one, I was just simply trying to console a disappointed child. The lady, much like Hazel, felt that the library was her space and we were infringing on her "H" of was suddenly a giant circle.
Since Wednesday I have been trying to process it all.  I'm certainly not perfect, nor do I profess to be, but one of my spiritual gifts has thus far been my ability to let things go.  I forgive pretty freely, and I don't typically hold grudges.  It seemed funny to me to be so bothered by something so trivial (there are after-all matters of consequence in the world!!!).  It has served as a great teaching opportunity for myself.  My parenting paradigm has shifted a little. I don't have a conclusion just yet, but I am curious, what do you think of the idea of children not necessarily needing to be "responsible" for their actions?  Before you fill me with odes of wisdom on teaching my children to share, check out this article and let me know what you think?

After unloading all of this on my oh-so-wise husband, he responded that indeed when I am forcing my child to say sorry (no matter how many times I make her) will most likely not result in remorse.  It really is just making me feel like I'm being a good parent.  Food for thought...
Here is one more insightful article on kids sharing practices.  A recent study shows that kids between 3-6 know they should share evenly, but don't.  Interesting!!!


Marie Hunt said...

I happen to agree to a point. At home I'm that way with my kids its their toy stop fighting over it. But I think you have to be careful in public arenas. If the other girl was there first and Hazel is mean I do think you have to address that issue. And if she dosent want to share a it is a good time to leave or a consequence for being mean. Hazel is at a real transition age. The article the kids were younger. I think its important you address it to a point because you don't want them going to kindergarten thinking they have it or want it, they can take. Parenting is not easy my princess is head ruler and. I do have TO knock her off her princesses chair sometimes .;)

Letty said...

Agreed, I do think removing her from the room and applying a consequence to a poor choice is a good idea, but making her apologize for something she really isn't sorry for, isn't necessarily productive. I think there are still consequences to the choice, just that I shouldn't think that I need to demand remorse.

NicKim Family said...

Collette, First of all a huge applause for just being such an actively engaged Mom! I think being an example and being aware of our kids are really key, but honestly the rest of it...there are so many variables. I didn't read the articles you listed but I will tell you that YOU are a great Mom. Hazel knew that you were aware of her feelings and I think that is a pretty big deal. I'm big on "life is not fair" and "It's good to want things and not get them." It's good for the soul, but I also understand that my kids aren't REALLY going to understand those things, especially the second one until they are adults. I do my best, as do you, and I think we're pretty great! Sure miss you! PS. How sad that the lady didn't ever get to experience life in the hot seat with a sad kiddo, if she had she would probably have been a tad more understanding.