I know just enough pop psychology to screw parenting up right. I read or heard somewhere about how my little girl was going to learn to do 'group-play.' I was super excited about this because I thought it would be this huge step in getting along with others. Of course that meant one thing: having to actually be around others. That's not a problem for Kaiya. She hasn't met a stranger yet. Kid could talk to anyone, or anything, for hours. She ran up to a little girl who had literally just gotten to the park and then turned, screaming: "Bye Mom! I'm going to play with my best friend!" Did I mention she had first met this kid sixty seconds ago?
No, the problem is with me. And my inability to not parent other people's children. I am all too often aghast at how awful other kids act. The other day when we went for a walk this eight-year-old was throwing handfuls of sticks and rocks towards us. I wasn't quite sure why and figured the first one was an accident as we had suddenly happened upon the playground. The second time, though, when a very intentional handful of crud landed practically in my baby's face, I couldn't help but throw my "mad mother" look the kid's way. I probably would have chewed him out had I figured out which kid it was, but whomever the culprit was very wisely ducked in the gaggle of kids and stayed there until I stormed off. The kid closest to me squeaked: "I didn't do it!"
It's one thing if it's something I just don't like. It's another thing when I'm worried another kid is doing something that is going to hurt my kid(s).
So when Kaiya first started playing with a group of kids, most of whom were a few years older than her, I tried my best not to hover but honestly couldn't help myself. Luckily CJ was asleep so I was able to focus on Kaiya. I kept biting my tongue as the bossy older kids ordered her around. I thought, boy I'd like to give those kids a piece of my mind about ordering my daughter around like that, but then I reminded myself that she was safe. And having a blast. "Mommy!" She screeched. "WE'RE building a volcano!!" Emphasis on "we're." It was like. She got it. All of a sudden she realize, hey, life is a heck of a lot more fun with other people to enjoy it with.
I realized that had I snatched her up the first moment I felt like she wasn't being treated fairly she would have missed out on the moment of building something with a group of people. And I would have missed out on her sharing that moment with me, with a screech and a grin.