Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Soft Touch

I'm a soft touch, or at least that's what my dad always calls me. He watches me with Michael and sees how quickly I am to respond to Michael's tears. I don't think my dad is necessarily saying it as a compliment, but since I get it from him, I take it that way.

I'm pretty sure that I do cater to Michael's needs a little too much. I try not to hover because Michael does need to learn to make his way in the world, but I want him to know that I am there if he needs me. I mean, he is only 4.75. It's a hard balance to find, and if I err on the side of hovering, well, I'm a mom, what can I say?

I've mentioned before that both Andy and I go to work very early every day. So early that we actually had to switch out schedules to a later start time when Michael started daycare because they don't open until 6:30. (Slackers) I've got it timed so that we dance to the last song of Wow Wow Wubzy, then head out the door. We normally get to school by about 6:35. Typically, Michael is the first or second child to arrive in the morning. When we get there, we take his stuff to his room, then come down to the 2 year old room where all the children go until their teachers get there. I always take some kind of dry breakfast for him and place it on the table in case he gets hungry.

This morning there were already five children in the room when we got there. Michael was very hesitant when he entered the room and saw all of them. He seemed very uncomfortable with the change in routine. Trying to keep things normal, I placed his pop tart on the table for him. However, there was a child sitting in his normal spot, so I had to put the pop tart at another spot. I walked back to him, hugged him and tried to leave. He hugged me and wouldn't let me go. It tried extracting myself a few times, but he wouldn't let go.

I asked him what was wrong, and he asked me to take his pop tart back up to his lunch box. I explained that he should have it downstairs in case he gets hungry. (In other words, I didn't feel like walking all the way back up to his classroom.) Nope, didn't work. He started begging. I finally realized that he was afraid that one of the other kids was going to eat his pop tart.

This is where I wonder what to do. Do I just leave and let him deal with it? Part of me thinks I should. He needs to learn how to handle this stuff on his own. Kindergarten isn't that far away. The other part of me can feel his distress and it just seems wrong to me to leave him to deal with it when I can help him so easily.

So, I proposed a compromise. I suggested that he give the pop tart to his teacher and have her take care of it for him. He seemed satisfied with this approach, and was able to see me off once his pop tart was safe and secure.

As a mom, I'm going to have to find this balance thousands of times on Michael's journey through childhood. I just hope that most of the time, I make the best decision.

As for the pop tart? I'd say there is a greater than 50% chance that after worrying about it so much he never even ate it. Because that's how we roll. Worrying about nothing.


Mel said...

That's how we roll, too. Obsessing over the small stuff.

Stacey said...

I think this is one of my tougher dilemmas as a parent. As a teacher, I generally find that people who bother to think about finding the right balance in this area have pretty great kids. If you took care of everything without thinking about it or required him to be totally independent all the time without thinking about it then that might be a bigger concern.

As for the not eating after the drama, I've so been there.

Julie said...

I like "soft touch", I am going to use that--it sounds better than "pushover", which is what my husband calls me. I really like how you handled the pop tart thing and I don't think you did it b/c you were too lazy to walk upstairs. Teaching independence while instilling confidence is a great thing.