Saturday, January 18, 2014

Please Stop Talking

Being heard is important to all of us but it seems particularly meaningful to my two year old.  He has a brother who has quite a lot to say and he is often interrupted mid-sentence.  He doesn't get angry.  It's worse.  He just hangs his little head in defeat.  I find myself saying to my oldest, "Hold that thought!" or "Just a minute, Drew was talking!" at least twenty times a day.  Saying it gets old but when I see my toddler's face light up, I don't mind a bit.  We've got this figured out.  But I simply did not expect him to use my same words when faced with an interruption at co-op.

He's in the nursery at co-op and many of the kids aren't talking yet.  They range from four months to two years and most are either being snuggled or wandering around finding fun things to play with.  The mothers, however, are a different story.  Many are relieved to have a moment when older children are not clammering for their attention.  Many are grateful to have some time to talk to other moms that are in the trenches, too.  Most of the time, I get it.  But sometimes I worry that the kids are getting the short end of the stick.  I engage in conversation occassionaly when I volunteer in that room but I try to spend most of my time on the floor with the kids.  Apparently my toddler has noticed.

He and I were playing catch when one of the moms asked me when the baby is due.  I held the ball and answered her.  She tried to ask me another question when my little boy's voice cut in.  "Scuse me!  Please stop talking, guys.  Trying to play with Mama," he said.  The other women and I exchanged tiny smiles and I said, "Excuse me but I should get back to this game of catch."  

He wasn't rude but he was assertive.  He was clear about what he wanted and he let me know that he needed to be a priority at that moment.  Will this always be okay?  Certainly not.  There will be times when I am engrossed in a conversation with a crying friend and he will have to learn to be patient for his turn.  But when his turn is interrupted, I feel that he has every right to remind me to keep my focus. In fact, I will encourage it.

How do your children let you know that they need your focused attention?  How can you build in ten to fifteen minutes a day to just hang out with them without any distractions?


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