I probably won't be winning any sensitivity awards with that title, but you have to admit, that somewhere along life's path you've met a pre-schooler you who just wanted to give the middle finger to. Maybe this kid lived on your street. Maybe he was your cousin or some kid at school. He probably pushed you down when his mommy wasn't looking and dipped your string cheese into the sand just to get a reaction. He pretends to hand you his toy car to share and then laughs at your crying when he yanks his hand back. Sounds personal, huh? Oh yeah. Noah and I know this kid. His name is Gavin and he's a regular at our park.
To be honest, by nature, I think most preschoolers are jerks. It makes sense that at an age when you have enough understanding to realize you are pretty small and powerless in this huge world, you might want to pick on the very few who are smaller than you (babies, puppies, bugs, etc). So, I am not really blaming the kid. It's up to parents/caregivers to teach more positive ways of feeling control. I won't bore you with examples, because I am sure you've read them in Parents magazine.
Who's to blame then? His parents? Should I pick up the phone and call his mommy? Who wants to get that call that your kid is a holy terror and commits minor violence against other toddlers and seems to get complete joy out of it? I mean, she must have some idea, right?
I think it should be said that I have actually never met the woman. It wouldn't really be a "friendly" conversation. We are strangers. Gavin comes to the park with 3 of his siblings in tow and his poor nanny who looks like she is about to have a nervous breakdown at any moment (the siblings ain't that sweet either). Not that I am saying that his mom working full-time has anything to do with it. I know many awesome kids with working parents. Maybe its the fact that the nanny just isn't equipped to handle that many kids with ummmm difficult personalities? (insert demons).
I have used every "teacher" trick I know, positive praise of Gavin's good behavior, setting a good example with Noah and then praising. When that didn't work I went for the disciplinarian approach and used firm words, " No, Gavin, you do not stand on Noah's legs!" "You do not push babies off the structure!" Sometimes the nanny will hear me (b/c I am shouting it loud enough for her to wake-up and pay attention) and will say, "That's a no-no, Gavin." GAHHHH.
Something needs to be done, though, and soon, because as soon as Noah gets to the park now he peers out from under the safety of his stroller and looks for Gavin. If Gavin is there, Noah says, "No. No. Bye-bye park." That is some power this kid has. Maybe I don't want to meet his parents. I am a little afraid of what the adult version might look like....
For the mean time, Noah has come up with some of his own strategies. When Gavin and Co tried to push Noah out of the sand box today, Noah came right back, sat in the middle and proceeded to take a big poo in his diaper. I guess that's the 18 month old equilavent to a middle finger.
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