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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Aiden, Nursery & Gravity

The title says it all, right? Today Brian took Aiden into the church nursery a few weeks early to start getting him used to it. (How can my baby already be coming up on 18 months?!!!) Any ways, after play time in nursery they sit the children down for a snack, have them fold their arms for a prayer and then pass out a treat with little paper dixie cups of water before they clean up for coloring time.

Aiden watched with obvious admiration as a few of the other boys whooped and hollered when it was time for snacks and even joined in with a bit of paper towel throwing. When snacks were passed out he politely ate his and picked up the new word "MINE" from his tablemates.

I should add that the rest of the afternoon he spent practicing the word, insisting that every book and toy was 'mine'. We didn't argue with him because it's true. They really are his. We're hoping this word won't stick but it seems to be a rite of toddlerhood passage and I'm sure it will soon be followed by shoves to playmates to prove his 90th percentile size MAKES the toys his. Oh, and that's not all he picked up in nursery today. Brian and I exchanged a look of horror when he followed one statement with "Why?"

Back to snack time. I watched in calm silence as Aiden was initiated into nursery by pouring the contents of his much-too-full dixie cup straight into his lap and I smiled politely when told that all the new kids do it. This cup was immediately replaced with another half as full and he actually seemed to get some of the water into his mouth before finishing the impromptu baptism with a splash down the front of his shirt. I'll skip the Gymboree outfit and send him to church in a swim suit next week for round two of the initiation. Maybe I'll pack a towel, too, so he doesn't have to drip-dry during coloring time.

I slipped back out of nursery and met up with Brian after church to find Aiden's best blue polo covered in red dribble stains. Brian informed me that he ate a red crayon in the one nanosecond he wasn't watching him and we have some things to practice at home. (Shame on me for buying the more expensive twistables crayons that are all plastic and difficult to eat...)

This afternoon I moved his little table from the playroom to the kitchen so we can practice sitting on a chair at a table, not throwing our paper towels (too much) and not insisting that our neighbor's snacks are "mine" no matter how insistent they are that your snacks are theirs. We also practiced folding our arms and trying to be quieter for prayers. We haven't really pushed Aiden do this before, we just insist he sit in our lap and try to keep him quiet as prayers are said. Tonight he quickly picked up on the "fun" arm-folding trick I was trying to show him. He beamed up at me, balled his little hands into fists and slammed his knuckels together in a move mildly reminiscent of something I've seen martial art fighters do before they bow to an opponent. He's such a comedian I couldn't help but laugh aloud! So long as he's not injuring his neighbors in nursery I'm sure no one will mind his Zen prayer posture.

Back to the table. Twice he fell off the chair and once he pulled the table over on top of himself AND fell out of his chair at the same time. (Those must be my genes at work.) Luckily Ikea children's furniture is nothing more than bolted-together dowel rods and painted white refrigerator box pieces so he wasn't injured, just frightened. He now approaches the table with caution, telling it "no no" as he sits down, as if it will tackle him to the ground at any minute.

I'm anxious to see how this week goes. I'm planning on practicing prayers at several random times (like fire drills) so we can work on his thai chi arm folding and reverence while digging through my parenting books for new ideas on how to handle this "mine" thing he's picked up. I'll admit I'm a little worried that nursery will turn my busy-but-sweet-hearted little boy into a non-stop-terror of a toddler but I know that he'll have fun. It will be a great way for me to learn how to be a playful parent and if nothing else, I'll learn to relax. I am the mother of a boy and I swear, they put you through so much that whether you like it or not, you learn to be cool!

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