My baby man is 14 months old. Wait, I don’t like how that sounds. He’s one, the kid is one. Yesterday, when I picked him up from daycare, I was informed that he had to be put in to time-out multiple times for GRABBING OTHER CHILDREN AND PULLING THEM TO THE FLOOR.
His teacher was an absolute sweetheart about it and told me that she put him in time-out (which is a play pen to the side of the classroom) each time that he did it. She said that last week, which was Spring Break for our local schools, he was around bigger kids and he probably picked it up from one of them. Or even, possibly, from one of the other kids he is around every day.
I was mortified. And also slightly tickled.
Mortified because this was the first time someone was telling me something that my child had done wrong and I instantly felt like a horrible mother. Tickled because my one year old had to be put in to time-out.
All I could think about was my little brother (who was constantly in trouble at school) and how he was the one I most wanted to relay this story to.
So, I loaded up Lee, and off to the cemetery we went. I grabbed a juice box and two packs of cinnamon apple sauce from my car and walked Lee over to his Uncle.
“Alright Lee, tell Uncle Toad what you did,” I said.
Lee giggled, patted his Uncle’s headstone with his cute, chubby, little hands twice, picked up the football resting in front of the stone, and plopped down.
We snacked, passed the ball back and forth, and talked to my brother (who I can only imagine was getting a kick out of the story and his nephew’s company) until my Mom pulled up.
“Momma, I’m raising a bully!” I yelled, jokingly, in her direction.
“Do what now?” she responded as she sat down beside us and started feeding Lee his second packet of apple sauce.
I told my Mom the story and she was very reassuring, “He’s one, he cannot be a bully. And I don’t like that word, don’t use that word.”
She was right. Lee is not a bully. And I should not joke about Lee being a bully.
Lee is the kid who goes around to every person (and dog, Lord help me) in the room and gives them a kiss. Lee is the kid who Facetime’d his Uncle Martin last night (D’s older brother) and had to be restrained from kissing the phone because he kept accidentally hanging up. He spent the last half of that phone call blowing kisses back and forth to Uncle Martin upon realizing that was a better option.
Children will be children and we cannot panic or freak out the very first time they step out of line and other children are involved.
Lee is going to make mistakes and the only thing that I can do, as his mother, is correct those mistakes.
Kindness is a priority in our household. If I hand Lee a toy or a snack or hell, my phone because he’s screaming for it, he is going to say “thank you” — and he does. If he walks over to me when I am eating something and he wants a bite, he is going to say “please” — and he does. He’s a good kid. His body is new to him too and he is growing so much everyday. He has no idea how strong he is or any grasp of the concept that what he is doing at times might be mean or hurtful to others.
I feel so very grateful that he is surrounded by so much love (at home and at school). His teachers genuinely care for him and it makes me feel supported when I’m not made to feel like a bad parent or him a bad child because he didn’t have a great day.
Now, he just needs to learn what he can and cannot do when it comes to other kids. And he will, of that I have no doubt. His heart is big and so full of love for everyone he meets. We just have to learn how to channel that love in a way that comes across how he means for it to.
And in the meantime, I am going to get all of the snuggles in that I can.
Maybe I can convince him that Momma snuggles should be a lifetime long thing..?