Category Archives: Smart Mama

The Lion

A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man.

This nugget of wisdom is a Turkish Proverb I found on the Internet.  I looked it up because of an incident that took place at Legoland involving Riley and Mean Boy.

Sometimes Riley acts exactly the way a three-year-old should act – stubborn, silly, irrational, and selfish with his emotions.  Like yesterday morning when he absolutely refused to wear a shirt to camp no matter how much I pleaded, and, in the end, went to camp with no shirt on.  (A Smart Mama knows when she’s fighting a losing battle with a toddler.)  Other times, Riley displays emotional maturity and wisdom far beyond his three years.

On our second afternoon at Legoland, we settled into a restaurant for some much needed lunch, water, and air conditioning.  The facility had a huge Lego play zone visible from almost every table so kids could play while parents ate in peace.

This feature is one of the things I liked the best about Legoland.  (That and the nice service and spotless bathrooms.)

So here’s what happened.  A young boy, probably about five or six years old, started pilfering Legos from Riley’s bucket.  Mean Boy alert!  I saw it happen but didn’t intervene right away.  This is partly because I was hot and exhausted, but mostly because I wanted to see how Riley and Dylan, who was playing next to Riley, would handle the situation on their own.  I saw Mean Boy’s mother walk over and yell, “Hey, don’t take Legos away from little kids!”

A few seconds later, Riley came running over to me with tears in his eyes and said, “Mommy, that boy called me a liar.  I…I…I didn’t lie.  I…I…I…I…I’m not a liar.”  (Sometimes Riley stutters when he has a lot to say.)

According to Dylan, the conversation went something like this:

Mean Boy’s Mama: “Don’t take Legos away from little kids!”

Mean Boy: “I didn’t!”

Riley: “Yes, you did.”

Mean Boy: “You’re a liar!”

Mean Boy called Riley a liar.

“Of course you’re not a liar,” I told Riley.  Then I got up and went back over to the play zone with both kids.  At that point, Mean Boy’s mother was gone and Mean Boy was quietly building with the Legos he stole from Riley.  “What’s going on here?” I asked.  No answer.  He ignored me.  I wanted to throw a Lego at Mean Boy’s head, but instead I put some distance between him and my kids.  I set the kids up to play at the opposite side of the play zone.

“Just play here,” I told them, but Riley had other righteous plans. He wanted Mean Boy to say he was sorry for calling him a liar.  I followed him.  Riley said, “I’m…I’m…I’m not a liar,” to which Mean Boy responded, “What are you talking about?  I didn’t call you a liar.  I called you a lion.”

Warning: Remainder of Post Contains Explicit Language

Editor’s Note A:  That Little Shit!  How dare he steal, lie, call Riley a liar, and think he could get away with suggesting it was a misunderstanding!  I kept my mouth shut, but I also wished for him to get a nasty case of pinkeye and a painful sunburn before the day was through.

After the lion comment, I took a deep breath and flat out told Dylan and Riley to stay away from Little Shit Mean Boy, but Riley wouldn’t have it.  He wasn’t a liar, Little Shit Mean Boy didn’t call him a lion, and Riley wanted justice.  I told Riley I knew he wasn’t a liar and that he was right and Little Shit Mean Boy was wrong, but as much as he deserved an apology, he wouldn’t get the response he wanted.  I asked him again to stay away from Little Shit Mean Boy.

What a hard lesson to have to teach a three year old child – that no matter how fair, moral, and honest you strive to be, there are people in this world who are not fair, moral, and honest and who will only ever strive to serve themselves.  What happened next made me a Proud Mama.  Riley pointed to our table and said, “Go back over there, Mommy, okay?  Go back to the table.”   He wanted me to leave so I couldn’t stop him from trying again (and again and again) to defend his honor.  By the time I finally gave in (I’m still working on picking my battles), Little Shit Mean Boy was gone.  Good riddance.

Riley is a lion.  A fearless, courageous lion with a big, beautiful, brave lion heart.


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Filed under Legoland, Legos, Proud Mama, Smart Mama, toddlers

Forward and Back

I have a lot to learn about sensory issues, but what I know so far is (1) confidence plays a huge role in achieving success (2) sometimes success requires you to take a few steps back before moving forward.

Saying, “If I eat these strawberries, my eyes will hurt,” or sitting in my lap during a birthday party instead of playing basketball because the noise in the gymnasium is too loud are examples of the backward steps.

Some of the fear and anxiety Dylan feels is because of nervous system confusion.  For example, doing a forward roll sends his vestibular system into a tail spin.  Yes, I just used vestibular in a sentence.  Smart Mama!  A lot of his problems, though, simply have to do with having low muscle tone, and it explains why that t-ball class was so frustrating for him – and the rest of us – last year.

On Friday, I took the boys to a park after school with some friends.  While we were there, Dylan asked me to push him on the baby swing.  It was one of those situations that, before the sensory diagnosis, would have frustrated me to no end.  Why didn’t he want to sit in the big kid swing like his friends?

Truthfully, Dylan hadn’t been near a swing – a baby or big kid one – in a long time.  Somewhere along the way, he decided avoidance was the easiest and least scary solution to the problem, so it was a good thing he wanted to swing at all.

After a few minutes on the baby swing, he did something surprising.  He asked me to push him on a big kid swing, one that was far away from where his friends were playing.  I gladly obliged and a few pushes later, he started pumping his legs forward and back.   It was difficult for him – I could see the strain in his feet when he tried to straighten his legs – but he kept at it.  I sat down on the grass (in awe) and quietly repeated, “Forward and back.  Forward and back.  Forward and back.”

Exciting stuff, right?  Well, it got even better.  After about ten minutes of “practicing,” he told me he wanted to play on the swings with his friends.  And he did just that, confidently pumping his legs forward and back on the big kid swing with a huge smile on his face.  Let me tell you, I was a Proud Mama!  Something big happened in the park that sunny Friday afternoon. Dylan believed in himself and took a colossally gigantically enormously huge step FORWARD.

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Filed under Proud Mama, sensory processing disorder, Smart Mama, Uncategorized