Today, LJ turned 23 months old. The last little milestone before TWO! I can hardly believe it.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen in my stories a bit about our recent library adventure. For those that don’t follow me, let me paint you a little picture.
With the cooler weather lately, I’ve been trying to find more indoor activities that I can take the kids to. I recently learned that our library has a toddler story time on Tuesday mornings so I signed us up. The first two times went pretty well, so I decided to try out another class they offer on Thursdays which is called Music and Movement. It’s an awesome program for littles, and after the 30 minutes was up the librarian unlocked the closet in the room and brought out a bunch of toys for some free play afterwards. Fun, right?
The following Tuesday (which was one week ago), we rolled in to our normal story time class right before it began. The room was full of toddlers and their moms and so of course the only available floor space is up front next to the librarian. Not really a problem, except LJ saw The Closet. You know, the closet full of fun toys that he now knows about thanks to the Music and Movement class.
Do you think my toddler wanted to sit quietly in a circle and listen to a book?
He wanted to play with the stuff in the closet.
I told him no, we were not going to open the closet, and he proceeded to throw a mini tantrum. Right in front of the class. Tears, cries, refusing to come sit down.
The poor librarian is trying to start the book and here my toddler is right next to her throwing a fit. I’m not going to lie, it was tempting to just pick up LJ and leave. I already felt like a bit of a hot mess rolling into class right before it started with my toddler and infant trying to squeeze into the front. Then my toddler melts down and I’m all hot and flustered and honestly, embarrassed.
Instead of carting off my crying toddler and sleeping infant, I stuck it out. I continued to tell LJ no, the closet was going to stay closed and encouraged him to sit. I attempted to draw his attention to the librarian reading the book and the pictures she showed. It wasn’t easy to keep calm and stay in the room, but after about 6 or 7 minutes, LJ realized he wasn’t going to get his way and he started participating in the class. He danced and followed the songs, he followed directions (I mean, as well as any of the other toddlers did anyways 😉 ) and he had FUN.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that day in the past week, and I have a lot of thoughts about it.
It would have been so. easy. to just call it a day, leave, and try again another time. And I know there are some situations where it’s better to lower expectations and/or head home. But I don’t think this was one of them. Story time at the library is for kids 18 months – 3 years so there is plenty of grace for typical toddler behavior. The activities are catered to them and if they throw a fit, the other moms get it. Even though I was flustered, I trusted that the other moms were thinking “been there, sister!” instead of “can’t you control your kid!?” (Who knows what they were really thinking but I’m not going to lose sleep over that).
LJ needs to learn how to act in social settings. He needs to learn how to be told no and process and cope with his feelings. He needs to learn that he won’t always get what he wants. And if I had given in and just taken him home or left the story time room to let him go play with toys in the kids’ corner, he would probably have stopped crying. But he wouldn’t have learned any of those things. Better to learn these skills in a toddler story time setting than melt down in a crowded restaurant or on an airplane, right?
I can’t expect him to behave perfectly every time. I know he won’t. He’s learning! But we practice and stick it out and celebrate the victories, like how when we played in the kid’s corner afterwards he shared toys SO much better this time than last time. And today, when we go back to story time, he might do a little better. Or he might not. But we’re going to keep showing up and trying!
I don’t know why all this was on me heart to share today. I guess I feel like my social media/blog/online life has been very baby-focused lately but the truth is we are firmly entrentched in TODDLERHOOD around here. And for any other mama out there experiencing the same thing, I see you. I’m right there with you. Toddlers are wonderful and sweet and hilarious and TOUGH. Hang in there. We’re all just doing the best we can.