I took my son to see the wiggles last Sunday. I think I experienced every possible emotion in that time. I decided to catch the train - it meant a 10 minute walk at the end to where the concert was being held, but I figured it would be easier than trying to drive in and find somewhere to park. We waved goodbye to my partner and baby at 8.20am. Not early by parenting standards but it felt like an achievement all the same. Still on his bestest behaviour, my almost 3.5 year old held my hand from the car to the station. He listened when I said to stay behind the yellow line and generally made my heart swell with pride on our 45 minute train journey. He stayed in his seat, attempted to converse with the little boy that sat opposite him and kept his voice to a perfect level.
Finally sitting down in our seats at the concert my pride waned and the bottom dropped out of my stomach as he looked at the big screens playing wiggles videos and commented that 'I don't want to watch the wiggles'. Was he serious? My little man who had loved the wiggles for 2 years now didn't want to stay and watch? I did my best to placate him (read: offered every type of food in my bag), hoping that when they actually came on stage (15 long minutes late argh) he would be mesmerised. And he was. His little face said it all - totally transfixed on the stage as is unable to quite believe that he was seeing them in person.
Then the trip home started. He tried to assert his independence getting on the train and when I dragged him into the carriage as the doors beeped, indicating they were about to close, his tiredness started to win and the whinging started. "I want to do it mineself". Over and over he said it. Not too loudly and the train was quiet but I could feel my blood pressure begin to rise ever so slightly as I allowed myself to become frustrated. I explained that it was too dangerous for me to let him take his time and the train was about to leave. Who was I trying to kid - this information meant nothing to him. All that mattered was that he hadn't been able to do it himself. I told him that he could get off by himself and left it at that. An old woman got on the train and took exception to his whinging. She told him to Shhh and then followed it up with a "shut up" in her nastiest voice. I was surprised - he wasn't crying or yelling, just voicing his disagreement and it had been tailing off. He dived for cover behind me, petrified. Anger at this person who saw fit to address my child took over and I told her to stop being nasty, he was only 3! She ignored me and my little guy stayed hiding behind me. I reminded myself that I am an example to my children and to leave it at that (despite an overwhelming desire to tell her to...choose another seat on the train).
She got off and I convinced him to stop hiding behind me. His fiesty nature and desire for independence completely quashed, I asked him if he'd prefer to sit on my knee. He crawled over and snuggled in. All my frustrations were forgotten as I sought to comfort him and make him feel protected. He fell asleep soon after and I hugged him tight the rest of the way.
It's a rollercoaster ride some days. I allow myself to get frustrated sometimes with his battle for independence or his desire to do everything in his own time. But seeing him so defeated by the words of a complete stranger shook me. How dare she try to censor him. He's learning and so very young still. Now this post will serve as my reminder to let him find his feet, to offer guidance and boundaries where needed but never to try and kill his spirit.
Pride, frustration, nerves, sadness, anger, joy but most of all....love.
Linking up today to With Some Grace for FYBF