Today we went to "Baby Beach". The sand is nice, soft, and white and the water was shallow without waves. Xavi could wade right in, splash around, and be in the water without worrying about the waves knocking him over.
We played in the sand for a bit until he "needed" water for his digging. I talked him into wading into the water and he was happily splashing until...this woman playing catch with her boy ran backwards (without looking, ignoring my repeated yells AND my hand on her back) and knocked Xavi over into the sand and water. This, of course, derailed our happy splashing and we didn't go back in the water until we were leaving. Grrrrrr!!!! She said to me "OH! I should have been looking, I mean this IS baby beach!" Dear Lord...I really wanted to smack her. Wouldn't that be a sight? A huge pregnant woman in a bikini taking down another mom in her own bikini...might have made the news.
Back on our beach blanket, playing with our sand toys (bucket, shovels, digger, and truck)...along comes a three year old girl wanting to play with Xavi's toys. I braced myself for an awkward situation and exchange since I know Xavi has not been willing to share any of these items...even with mama or papa. Mom comes along and basically expected US to share with her...even though a 3 year old MUST understand the concept of sharing MUCH better than my 20 month old. On the outside, I chatted with her while on the inside, I was so stressed out. I really felt like she needed to take control of the situation and excuse themselves to play with THEIR toys. I HATE it when the other parent does not take control of the situation and direct the play of their older, more mature, TALKING child to avoid conflict while playing with OUR toys. I mean, Xavi was crying and begging me to get the big truck, digger back. Mom's other kid comes along...19 month old...grabbing at the toys and Xavi had enough. He cried, asked for chi chi, and said "all done". I hugged him and then he wandered away. I excused myself from OUR toys and we went looking at what other kids' toys were around. Of course there was a lot of trucks! diggers! shovels! buckets! that no one seemed to be playing with...until Xavi picked it up and the owner suddenly appeared demanding his/her toy. I was so stressed but did my best to stay relax, chat with other moms, and keep Xavi from getting attached to anything.
After a few times, he seemed to understand "that's not our toy"and oh "look, the kids left OUR toys alone, let's go play with OUR toys". We escaped without a major incident or meltdown. We got back in the water once. We dug a few holes with OUR toys and had fun building a sand castle...or more accurately, knocking down each block I tried to put up. Another 11 or 12 year old girl came up, wanting to play with our toys and build her own sand castle....luckily our toys suck at making castles and the bucket was broken... she didn't stay too long. We had snack, got cleaned up, and back in the car. All in all a good experience. Thankfully. At least the lesson learned was NOT that if someone comes along to play with his toys that he can go and demand someone else's toys. It was certainly heading that way.
As I was driving home, I was thinking about why I was so stressed out. I guess part of it is that I am not sure that this is the best environment to learn sharing...at home, there is no reason he HAS to share with anyone and I'm fully aware that soon enough he will be sharing EVERYTHING with his little brother...he'll be learning in a controlled environment how to lovingly and cooperatively playing with someone else, not to mention share mama with another being (if I'm honest, I'd say that I'm VERY nervous about that one!). Debbie has similar experiences with kids at the park...so much so that she limits the toys they take because it is so stressful to "referee" other people's kids and their behavior. She relates stories of kids taking toys, running off with them, and Debbie being forced to chase after someone else's kid to kindly ask for it back. We've had toys stolen the few times I let other kids play with our stuff...so it isn't easy for me to share, it isn't easy to have to referee other little monsters.
|Garage sale find digger...definitely a MINE item|
I liken the experience today to taking a puppy to the dog park to "socialize"...where there is little to no control over what your dog or someone else's dog would do AND what your dog would learn from the experience. I'm usually nervous at dog parks about not if but when Diego will try to hump every dog he can OR who would he try to beat up...and I used to get nervous that Sasha would get beat up. These were not great experiences with my hairy kids...I'm certainly unwilling to experiment with my two legged, lovely little man. I think I am afraid that one of these mean, spiteful (and they are!!) kids will do or say something that will hurt him or make him turn into anything other than the sweet, loving spirit he is.
|Sharing breakfast with cousins Gabby and Owen...in this case, yogurt|
I KNOW that learning to share is important...and Xavi will be a good sharer. His cousins were very generous with him and I know it wasn't easy for them...but it was easier for me. Jackie's kids were very generous with Xavi, even parting with one of the diggers that he fell in love with...making it easy on me to allow him to learn what he needs to learn but at our own pace. And I thank those kinds of moms for helping this mom learn how to be better...and to share.
|Xavi's new digger from the Mittelstadt family...Thanks Emerson!|