Emilie's 6th Birthday Party Was a Few Days Ago!
We normally have a small party at home for her, with a few friends from the neighborhood and family members. This year she wanted to invite all of her classmates to her birthday party. We decided to have her party at a local splash pad, instead of our house. Since the local schools were still in session, we scheduled it for the afternoon on a Friday so we could have the place mostly to ourselves. We had about 20-25 children plus moms and dads hanging out. Emilie said it was "the best birthday ever!"
Towards the end of the party, there was a small incident that I just wasn't sure how to handle, it left me scratching my head and wondering what I should have done.
Here's a little backstory, to understand where I'm coming from:
For the last 3 years, Em has attended the most wonderful co-operative preschool. She graduated from their Forest Kindergarten program the day prior to her birthday party. Participating in a co-op has made me a better parent, without a doubt. Co-op taught us a brand new language and has helped us give our children the language they need to communicate with the world. Em has learned incredible lessons in identifying feelings, conflict resolution, being kind to others, and calming herself down in times of anger, disappointment, sadness and stress.
Because of the language we have been able to give our children, we feel confident in allowing them to resolve conflict on their own, while we are nearby listening, but not interjecting in the situation. Obviously, we will step in if the conflict becomes physical or if one of the children asks for support. Our teacher reminds us though, as long as they are "in it" with each other, they both want to be there. They will walk away if they cannot find a resolution and no longer want to engage.
Back to the situation I mentioned above (I want to be very clear, this is a description of what happened, I am NOT criticizing another mom's parenting technique-Moms get judged enough and I will NOT participate in mom-shaming of any kind.)
Towards the end of the party, most of our friends had left and Logan our 22-month-old was playing on the splash pad while I chatted with another friend. Another little boy about the same age was playing near him. The little boy walked over to Logan and pushed him (not hard-Logan didn't even fall down). Logan stopped what he was doing, put his finger in the air and said "NO" and walked away. For Logan and I, it was over, he let the other child know he didn't like it and then he left the area. I resumed chatting with my friend when I saw from the corner of my eye the other child's mom walking him over to Logan. She made her son give Logan one of his cups and then made him apologize. I let the mom know that it was ok, I wasn't worried about it at all, Logan was fine, they had solved their minor conflict and that Logan didn't need the cup or an apology. She insisted, so I let it happen, no big deal.
I probably felt more awkward after the interaction than I should have. It's no big deal, right?