Do you ever have days/weeks that you feel like you're just the meanest person in the world - not because you're trying to be mean, but you're trying to help kids learn and grow?
Yesterday at about 3:15 I was standing in my living room and watched the 3 year old neighbor boy take a toy from my yard and run. I walked outside to confront him, but he was gone. Sadly for him, his bike was still sitting in front of my house. So I moved his bike to my porch and walked to his house. I couldnt' see him, so I hollared to him that he could have his bike back when he brought my toy back. I'm so concerned about this kid because he's 3... almost 4, and roaming my neighborhood, regularly unsupervised. We don't live in the worst neighborhood, but this side of town is not known for safety.
Anyway, he came back several minutes later with his head hung low (one of the adults that is at his house sometimes - I don't know who lives there and who doesn't - had found him and sent him over with the toy). He dropped the toy on the yard, and as he lifted his head, he saw his bike. His jaw dropped and his eyes grew wide. "You can't take my bike" he said to me. So mean lady said, "If it's okay for you to take my things, then it must be okay if I want to take your things." He did not like that idea. I let him know that once he brought back my shovel (which I had seen him with 2 days before) and any other toys he had taken from my yard, he could have his bike.
Somehow he figured out what shovel I was talking about and brought it over in exchange for his bike. Within minutes of me going inside, he was in my yard, picking up another toy. Lesson learned? I guess not.
TODAY: I felt so mean - I let the boy I babysit cry for nearly a full half an hour while I washed dishes and made lunch. He's been gone for several weeks to visit family, so it's hard for him to adjust to being back, I'm sure. As soon as I sat him at the lunch table, he stopped crying. He ate nothing at all, but fell asleep on the table.
THEN: My own son, 18 months old, was drinking his milk. He drinks from an open top cup at home. He decided it would be fun to stick his hand in the cup. We have regular "discussions" about that. Mama was not in the mood to play the cup game, so took it away after only 1 warning. Mean, mean mama.
Have you felt mean recently? Has anyone learned from it? Have you learned from it?