Thursday, November 13, 2008

How does that make you feel?

I took the kid to Barnes & Noble today, as I do most days. Each day has a whole new weird thing happens as we frequent the one in the U-Village. The other day I heard a mother call after her son, Rufus (poor kid!). Once I saw a three or four year old being breast fed in the kids area/train table area. Earlier this week I saw my old 8th grade history/writing teacher and for the first time, her one-year old son. Today was a little different. Story is with Grandma and boy about age 4.

(as kid and I enter the train table area, she crawls to the table and pulls up to a stand)
Boy: Look it's a baby! I have a baby at home.
Gma: Yes you do have a baby brother at home. This baby is about the same age.
Boy: The baby doesn't walk. My baby doesn't walk either.
(kid throws a train on the floor)
Boy: That baby threw the train on the floor. My baby does that too.
Gma: Yes, your brother throws stuff on the floor too. (pause) How does that make you feel?
Boy: Well, he always throws stuff on the floor. My trains and food.
Gma: Yes, but how does that make you feel? How do you feel when he throws things on the floor?
Boy: (pause) My baby throws things on the floor. That baby threw the train on the floor. My baby is little too. (...)
Gma: How does that make you feel?

And so on...

What the heck is going on? Why is it so interesting how he feels about something so weird? The only possible theory I, as an unknown outsider, could make is that maybe the kid is autistic and Grandma is trying to do emotion differentiation but if that would be true, Grandma is going about it the wrong way. You identify the feeling for them in the moment and talk about it. Example, when brother is throwing his trains and boy gets mad, you say, "you're angry that brother threw your trains" or something like that. Kids don't always remember how they felt hours or days ago, especially autistic or other kids with special needs.

So this proves how sissified Seattle is. Stop over-thinking this whole parenting thing. Relax. Take a chill pill. Kids will learn at their own pace. And stop chucking this "feelings" garbage down their throats and let them learn through experience and play. My boss thinks his one-year old will get "ideas" and end up as a pregnant teen if she plays with the doll and doll stroller she got for her birthday.


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