Much too often, we encounter other parents who (either because they are too wrapped up in their own crap, or because they’re awful people – yes, that happens sometimes) treat Jacob, well, let’s just say “less than nicely” Those parents usually receive a glare from my end and some mutterings under my breath (if they were downright mean, I’d do much more, trust me)
Here’s an example: The other day we were at the park and Jacob was running around and playing. As usual, he wanted to play with all the other kids’ toys and not his own (something all kids seem to do). He came upon a bag full of toys and started playing – as the parent and responsible party, I always redirect him towards something else; unless the person who owns said toys gives permission for Jacob to play (an 80/20 probability). Anyway, the parent never said anything and could clearly see that Jacob wanted to play with the toys. I tried to distract and replace (a helpful tool) but Jacob would hear nothing of it – he’s just as stubborn as his daddy. He melted down and then eventually got over it, blah blah blah. You get the point. It’s no big deal to let the kid play with the toys! Just be nice – we always let other kids play with the toys that we bring. It’s almost an unspoken understanding. I say almost because some parents/guardians seem to have missed the memo.
Let me just say that most of the time, parents are really cool to each other. It’s just that recently, we’ve been encountering some buffoons. You know the type: They let their kids run around wreaking all kinds of havoc while they talk/hammer away on their phones…
Well, Jacob and I went to (surprise!) the “new pahpm” today before his nap. We were playing around and having a great time when we saw a little girl – she was 2 1/2 years old (a little young for him; he’s more into the 6 year olds as you might remember). He went over to her and was babbling all sorts of things. She was shy, but her mom thought he was adorable (she’s right, of course). She was there with her 2 1/2 year old daughter and her 1 month old son (brave).
Jacob looked up at the mom and said: “Jahbm, jahbm!” (as we all know, that means ‘driving’ – there’s a steering wheel built into the play structure and he loves turning it and pretending he’s driving) She replied: “you were jumping?” I told her what it meant and then we talked a little bit about how they have their own language and how, at least we can understand them. She was really nice.
We went back to playing for a bit – going down the slides together and chasing each other around – and then Jacob went back to see the mom. She had a bracelet on her wrist that belonged to her daughter. It was rubbery-plastic and heart-shaped. Jacob grabbed at it and said: “Hut! Hut!” (that’s how he says ‘heart’) She pulled it off of her wrist and let Jacob hold it. He was running around the park saying: “Rem hut, rem hut!” (rem is red – by now you’re probably starting to understand him too, no?) Needless to say, he loved it. The little girl wasn’t happy about Jacob having her bracelet (she didn’t want it until he had it; a condition of childhood that for some lasts a lifetime, but let’s not get into that right now). I assured her that we would give it back when it was time to go, silently dreading the meltdown that would ensue when I ultimately had to wrestle the bracelet away from my son.
The time came. Jacob ran at the first hint I was going to be relieving him of his ‘rem hut’. I caught him and took it away – explaining things the whole time (it wasn’t ours and they were leaving). He melted down. I brought it over and the mom looked at me and said: “Why don’t you just keep it? She has so many at home, she won’t even notice it’s missing.”
I asked if she was sure. She assured me it was fine. I thanked her, gave the bracelet to Jacob (who had already calmed down). He was thrilled. He ran back to the play structure saying: “Rem hut!”
They left. And we followed shortly afterward.
As I drove home, all I could think about was how nice she was and that she really didn’t have to do that. This woman went above and beyond (I know it was just a cheap little rubber bracelet, but still, it’s the intention behind the deed) As loving as I am towards my family, I can probably be warmer towards others.
She inspired me today, and hopefully she’ll inspire you too…
Thanks for reading!
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