Archive for December, 2006

Sparkle Girl Goes to a Party

Sparkle Girl was going to a girl party with dolls. No boys invited.

My job was to take Doobins to the playground before Sparkle Girl and their mom left for the party so that he wouldn’t be around to ask questions for which there would be no satisfactory answers.

As plans go, it was perfectly serviceable. Doobins likes to go to the playground.

Transitions, though, can trying for him. He often has trouble adjusting to the idea of doing something other than what he is already doing. So I’m used to having him shout, “No! Never!” as we head out to the car, even when we’re on our way to do something he likes.

Once he is in the car and strapped into his car seat, though, he usually leaves the past behind and is ready for whatever comes next.

On this particular day, though, that was not the case. As we drove toward the playground, he kept saying that he wanted to go back home to Mommie. We stopped at a traffic light. A right turn would have put us back on course to his house. The light changed, and I drove straight through the intersection toward the playground.

With Doobins and Sparkle Girl, I spend a lot of time stopping them from following their impulses.

“You want to run across a parking lot without looking? I don’t think so.”
“You want to poke Sparkle Girl in the face with a stick? I don’t think so.”
“You want to slide down the slide headfirst on your back and land on your head? I don’t think so.”

When it’s a matter of “safety first,” I feel fine thwarting their desires.

Other no’s seem solid or disposable, depending on my mood.
“You want a treat before you’ve eaten breakfast? I don’t think so.”
“You want a treat before you’ve eaten breakfast? Sure, be my guest. Get me one of those peanut-butter cups, too, while you’re at it.”
Every now and then, though, I wonder whether I’m doing the right thing when I quash one of their impulses. Such was the case this time. Doobins didn’t seem as if he were being belligerent just to be belligerent. He just seemed to be a little guy who needed to be with his Mommie.
He was clearly communicating that to me, and I wasn’t listening. Being a kid must be maddening at times, I thought. That didn’t stop me from continuing on to the playground in hopes that the slides and swings would capture his attention.
Instead, we ended up sitting on the curb at the edge of the parking lot. In similar circumstances, anger has pushed at the back of my eyeballs. This time, quiet sadness was what I felt.
I gave his mom a call. She and Sparkle Girl hadn’t left for the party yet. It didn’t seem as if he was being a knucklehead, I said. He just wanted to be with her. We agreed to swap kids.
Doobins was quiet on the ride home. At last, we were heading in the right direction.