Spending your days with toddlers is at times awesome and fun, and at other times exhausting. There are times when they are all happily playing and making your life easy as their parent, and there are times when they are all running in opposite directions and it is anything but peaceful. There are times when it’s “the other” kid who is being a pain and crying like a weirdo, and there are times when you are so embarrassed that it is “your kid” who is “that kid.”
One thing that helps me enjoy the day, regardless of all of the nonsense that I might witness is having a sense of humor. I tell you one thing, parenting is a lot easier if you have a sense of humor and do not take everything too seriously. Of course if you are too laid back that is not working – but I am not talking about being laid back. Just having enough perspective to step back occasionally, when you might need it most, and seeing the situation for what it is.
Today the little guys were playing on a football pitch that is owned by the Discovery Bay College. This is more like a k-14 school system where everyone wears a uniform and the football pitch is a sometimes-used space by people who need another place to go besides the parks and playgrounds. We were there towards the end of the day, and there were some kids playing with one of those motorized cars that kids can ride in. You know these things, they are basically every kid’s dream.
So, when the bigger kids (way to big to be in this car) were done, naturally our little guys went over to it, and wanted to play on it. The other stay at home dad in the group pushed the kids around the pitch until security came and said we could not have the car on the pitch (this was funny because the kids had it on the pitch before us, but they did not say anything to them – probably because they were in uniforms and we were not). So basically this meant the car was off limits and they took it away.
With this, the little guy FREAKED. He was crying inconsolably because he loved this car so much. He wanted to be in it the rest of the day, week, month, and his life. I tried to hold him and show him other things, but he wanted down, he wanted to walk over to where the car was moved to, and he wanted to get in it again. He is not a good climber. So, the other little guys crawled in and were having fun, but the little guy just stood there crying, wanting to get in.
I did not help him. Why should I? What would he learn if he sat there crying and I helped him in? Positive reinforcement for crying, right? Eventually he stopped crying and was still trying to crawl in, so I then helped him into the car and everything was good until we had to get going.
At any moment during the afternoon, the little ones were walking around crying. Mine was crying because of the car, another was crying because he wanted to be close to his mom, another wanted more food. One was just tired after the long active day.
Have you ever watched a toddler when they are tired and crying while walking around? First of all, at the age of 16 months they are still not super stable when they walk, so they kind of wander around like a drunk person. Second, there is no real solid reason for why they are crying sometimes, so that means that they are hard to console. So, they wander around crying for no reason, and will not stop no-matter what you do. If there are more than one of them doing this at the same time, it is like watching a group of drunk rugby fans getting off the ferry to Discovery Bay from Central after a day of watching the game.
It’s funny to see this, it’s funny to see the tiny little guys who are dealing with all these emotional ups and downs doing the only thing that they can to show frustration: cry. Of course you have to have compassion for it when it is legitimate, but in those other times, it’s good for a laugh before jumping into dealing with it.