Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Public Tantrum! Hooray.

Last week I took Gwen to a kids' yoga class. Whenever she sees me heading off to my weekly yoga class, she wants to come to, so I was excited to find a teacher in our area who offers classes for kids 2-7 years old (parent participation welcome at no extra charge).

Let's just say the experience was disappointing.

Part of it was my fault: I needed to leave work 20 minutes early in order to pick up Gwen and get to the class on time, and that didn't quite happen as I ended up getting a request for some printing at the eleventh hour. Because of that, we arrived to the class late. In addition to my own hatred of arriving late, Gwen is a girl who needs transition time. Had we arrived with enough time for her to run around and explore the room and somewhat settle in, she may have been ready to actually participate in the class. As it was, she was a shrieking, running, climbing goofball, and she did not one single yoga pose. I had the choice of either participating in the class to show her via peer pressure that "Hey, THIS is what's happening," or running around after her, trying to control her behaviour via urgent whispers and physical restraint. Neither of these options were very attractive to me, and I also felt bad for the other participants in the class. So after about ten minutes, I grabbed my wayward kid and we made an exit.

It reminded me of every grocery-store-meltdown or shopping-mall-tantrum I'd ever read about, heard about, or witnessed. IN A YOGA CLASS. Good times.

We had to wait for Chris to come pick us up, as the snow has made us a one-car family. Once Gwen realized we weren't going to return to the class, she got really upset. I think she made the connection that her behaviour was the reason for her missing out, and she really grieved that. I didn't say much about her behaviour, just told her I was disappointed. When Chris arrived, he asked what had happened. And she actually told him. "I climbed on the table. I wasn't listening to Mama and the teacher. I didn't stay on the pink mat. I had a time out." I was stunned to hear her describe the events in her own words, with no prompting. What an incredible window into her comprehension.

I also recognize that I didn't go over the rules beforehand. When I take Gwen to church (1-2 times a month) we talk beforehand about sitting still, using quiet voices, listening to the stories, etc. And even then, her behaviour is far from perfect; but she's definitely starting to understand what's expected, and she complies with it for as far as her high energy level and short attention span will allow. I didn't do this prior to yoga class, and that was foolish. How can she comply with my expectations if I don't clarify them?

The teacher was kind enough to return the free pass I'd used for the class, and even extend the expiry date so we have another chance to try it out. Yes, she encouraged us to come back, whereas she may have been justified in shudderingly asking us never to return. Brave woman! Just not sure if I'm so brave.

More important than my disappointment in Gwen's behaviour, I think, is my awe at her comprehension and articulation of the situation to her dad afterwards. She is so freaking smart. There is not a direct correlation between intelligence and good behaviour - in fact, it may actually be in reverse proportion - but I can at least be proud of her for something.


sfauthor said...

Good posting. Do you know about these yoga books?


Amberism said...

I kinda wish I could have been there :). Is that mean? I just like to know I'm not alone.

I left Canadian Tire yesterday (after Claire peed in Aisle 42 and somehow managed to get a bottle of sunscreen to explode (?!) ) with all three of my kids screaming.

All three. Screaming.

I almost feel like I should send a note of apology. Also made a mental note that while Callum made the decision to not each lunch that is not a guarantee that he won't be miserable later, a tired Claire shouldn't go to Canadian Tire with no diaper and well, Anna is 7 months. She gets a pass.

Got what I needed at least! Sad you didn't get to do any yoga! You should totally try again though, it is with practice and experience that they learn, right? And she totally got why she was leaving, I bet she will try everything in her power to do what is needed of her next time.

Surprised Suburban Wife said...

If it's any consolation, I'm sure that anyone running a yoga class for 2-7 year olds has seen the whole range of behaviours! Our kids are smarter than we could ever give them credit for eh? And the amazing thing about the 2-3 year old stage is the open-ness, the lack of filter - I just love hearing why Megan didn't get a sticker at daycare today ("because I wasn't cooperating at rest time") and will be so sad when we move into more strategic communication.


Related Posts with Thumbnails