Friday, July 29, 2011

Dealing with the jealous, possessive (little) man in my life...

The other night we were hanging out with my parents before they left for vacation.  My sister cooked a huge, amazing meal, and we had eaten and had a lot of fun.

My younger niece, the 1-year-old, was closing in on bedtime and getting sleepy and cuddly.  She toddled over to where I was playing with the kids on the floor and plopped in my lap.

My son immediately ran over and hugged onto me.  "No!" he chastised her.  "My mama!"

I showed him that there was room for me to cuddle on them both, and that his cousin wasn't going to steal me away from him, but he was still pretty put-out.  That's when I started getting nervous about Sunday.

As I've mentioned some in the last couple of weeks, my son just recently moved up to the preschool class at church, the same age group I teach.  This normally wouldn't be an issue because he's in class while my husband and I attend the first service, then he and his Daddy go home while I teach second service.  So I don't have to worry about jealousy issues since he's not in my class.

But this Sunday, we're only having first service, and for good cause.  My church is doing this amazing event called the Big Serve, where everyone in the church (and anyone else who would like to join) can participate in various service activities around the Raleigh area, like farming for the food shuttle, or charitable construction projects, etc.

A bunch of my friends are going to be farming.  Some of them are renovating a widow's home.  My husband is going to be doing construction on stables and corrals at a place that helps at-risk teen girls through horseback riding.

I'm not doing any of these things because, while all the other grown-ups are serving, someone still needs to watch the kids.  Obviously, I volunteered to help watch the preschoolers.

Of course, this means that I'll be watching my son and the other first-service kids along with the kids from my regular class.  And since the service projects take a bit longer than a church service, I'll be watching the kids for most of the afternoon, about four hours.

Jealousy is going to be a major issue.

Even without my son in my class, I already have to resolve squabbles revolving around who is going to sit in my lap during the lesson, or help me pass out napkins for snacks.  It's not uncommon for me to find myself tackled and incapacitated; a kid sitting on each leg and a two-year-old hanging off my back.

I don't mind because that's how kids are.  They're rambunctious and cuddly as puppies.

I do have a bad feeling, however, that my son is going to mind a whole lot.

It infuriated him for his beloved baby cousin, whom he sees all the time, to dare try to cuddle with me.  I don't think he's going to take it well when bigger kids whom he's only met a handful of times start trying to move in on "his" mama.

And it's not going to make sense to the other kids, either.  In the environment they typically see me in, all my focus is on them.  Toddlers don't rationalize that their teacher exists apart from children's church.  To them, this little "baby" who's acting all grumpy and possessive is the one intruding on their turf.

Fortunately, there will be plenty of other volunteers, should my kid get too difficult.  But I really hope he gets so distracted with playing and having fun that he doesn't monopolize my attention.

After all, it's not much help for me to volunteer if I'm only able to watch my kid the whole time.

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