1/15/2010

Doing Nothing

I don’t get my kicks out of hearing children cry; but on rare occasion I wonder what some of the teachers think.  Like today.

There was a child, let’s call him Logan, who had two periods of crying with me.  I love being able to help out in the classrooms for an entire morning because it gives me a great opportunity to get some really good intense training with the teachers.

Logan decided that he wanted to use the spray bottles full of paint and, instead of using them in the art area outside, he thought it would be fun to paint everything BUT what was intended (the paper).  He tried the large blocks, I redirected him back.  Then, with a sly smile and that defiant look in his eyes, he took another bottle of paint and went back to the blocks…testing the boundaries as children will do.

When I went to approach him, he decided that we would be going for a run.  (Yes, this is the same child who I had to get inside for lunch a while back).  If you’ll recall, I don’t chase.  Not going to happen.

So, I waited for the opportune time, reached out, and took him by the hand.  Then we went and sat…he began to cry…I told him why we were sitting and that he could go back and play when he was 1) done crying and 2) ready to talk.

He came back, with tears, “I’m NEVER going to talk again!”

The tears came, I sat with him, hand on his, while I read a book to other children…the tears continued.  We sat…and sat…and sat…then it came time for my break…he came with me…he continued to cry.

There was a guy in the office doing some electrical work…WITH TOOLS!!!  He wanted, through his tears, to know why he couldn’t watch him.

I explained that he wasn’t 1) Done crying and 2) ready to talk.

He cried, “But I’m NEVER going to talk again!” 

I shrugged my shoulders and said, “well, then I guess you’ll never get to watch…that’s too bad because I think he even has a drill.”

Suddenly, he was ready to talk…AND stopped crying. 

It’s not that I enjoy the crying, it’s that I don’t let the crying sway the results.

After lunch, Logan decided to go on another crying stint…it was nap time…he had already eaten 2 pizza’s, a salad, and 4 slices of apple.  He asked to be excused.  He cleared his plate.  he was told to go get his mat and lay down…

He wanted MORE pizza! 

He was reminded that he asked to be excused.

He started crying.

The assistant teacher looked close at me and asked, “What are we supposed to do in this situation?”

I asked for clarification as to the situation; it was all about the struggle “Do we let him have more pizza?”

NO!  This isn’t about eating, this is about NOT taking a nap.  If he hadn’t eaten anything on his plate I might have reconsidered; but probably not since it was HIM who asked to be excused and cleared his own plate.

He cried.

I set up his mat.

He cried.

I lead him to his bed.

He cried.

I rubbed his back.

He slept.

I don’t get my kicks out of hearing children cry.  I can just tune it out and get to the core of the problem.  Tears don’t change a thing.

How do you handle crying?

2 comments:

Barbra Stephens said...

I have a very causal matter of fact attitude when I am working with 'crying' kids as well. I often have to really evaluate what is the whole story with the child...are they overwhelmed, scared,hurt,sad,lonely embarrassed,angry,a whole gumbo of these emotions...or just needing a nap...
Sounds like you have already taken time to get to know this child.
I have found that ' big people' can be too hard on kids but never too firm. Firm has a pleasantness about it kids understand. It gives them strong supporters under them- they know we won't cave in & collapse on them when they need us
most. I'll bet he likes you!

Jenni said...

Likes me? Maybe, but definitely respects me. You are right. They need to have those boundaries. They crave those boundaries.

I, too, have seen adults be too hard on kids. It's sometimes a fine line, but you just can't cross it.