You’re WEIRD

September 27, 2006 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One thing that happened at the doctor’s office is kind of rumbling around in my head.

I like to watch Bella playing and interacting with new children (or ANY children for that matter) to see how she handles herself. Kids who enter daycare at an early age seem to develop social survivor skills (or just take on the role of victim and let life steamroll them). I think it may give them a bit of an edge socially. But since Bella has never BEEN in daycare, each social situation is completely new territory for her. We spent, off an on, about an hour in a waiting room that was divided off into areas for kids and adults. The adults’ area had grownup size chairs and the kids section was sort of a mosh-pit area with all sorts of hard plastic toys, trucks, books, etc.

Well, as I am sitting there watching over Bella and Mia as they crawl around, play, and interact with the other children, Bella tries to tell a little boy something. She is trying to convince him to share the truck he is playing with. She was being a bit bossy but mostly polite so I just sat back and watched things unfold.

Instead of acknowledging what Bella was saying, the boy held on to the truck with a deathgrip and looked at Bella. Then he said, “you’re weird.” She looked kind of confused and tried to again explain to him that he need to share. THEN HE SAID IT AGAIN, a little more boldly. I’m guessing that the first time he said it, he was repeating something he’d heard, sort of trying it on for size and wanting to see what would happen. Then he was emboldened because he decided it felt good to say and he liked the response he got. ( little creep!)

So then, as I am watching this little saga unfold, in addition to the look of apprehension on Bella’s face and in her body language, this look of hurt passes over her face as what he’d said sunk in. She looked at him again, and that up at me and said in a small hurt voice, “Mama, he said I weird.”

OKAY….for years I’ve worked out in my head just how I might respond to different situations and help my children build self esteem and respect for others…..all the time, trying to be ready and on my toes for JUST such a situation. Here is a bright three year old with an extensive vocabulary and fairly good social skills and self-confidence. And now she is filled with self doubt. So how did I respond?

Inwardly, With Panic.

I outwardly remained calm and told her with a shrug, “People just say that. It doesn’t mean anything.” Now, okay, if the boys mother hadn’t been within earshot, I probably would have explained to her how stupid and mean he was being because he didn’t want to share. But trying to maintain some decorum, I tried to only speak to the part that affected her. She looked at me for a minute, kind of unsure. Then she looked back at the boy. I suggested that he didn’t want to share and that she should probably find another toy to play with. So she got up and looked around for another truck.

But I’m wondering….has the damage already been done? Are the seeds of self doubt already sown? What happens the next time someone tries to make her doubt or dislike herself to fufill their own agenda?

She is napping now. But I’m thinking that we will DEFINITELY have to revisit this sometime today. If you have suggestions, PLEASE COMMENT.

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