I was surprised and tickled to find out that William’s music class, Music Together, was being held this week. His class is held in our city’s civic center, so I fully expected it to be postponed since President’s Day is a holiday observed by the government and its branches. Apparently, though, one lady in the entire building came by to unlock the doors for the class.
The class starts at 4:30pm on Mondays, so I normally get there around 5:00pm and am able to observe the last 15-20 minutes of the class. So the fact that he had class on a holiday meant that I got to take him, and participate with him in the class from the beginning. I was even happier to be able to sit right next to the teacher. William apparently liked that, too, because he didn’t roam at all (like he normally does). Instead, he chose to either sit on my lap, or sit in front of me on the floor. He watched the teacher intently and danced to the music.
There was a new student this week that I’ve not seen before. A little boy with shaggy hair. He was probably closer to 2, given how nimble he was on his feet. He was roughly William’s size, although a little slimmer in the face. He was wearing jeans and a blue plaid shirt. Both his mom and dad were there, they had arrived about 10 minutes late.
The little boy was disruptive, running through the middle of the circle, out to the other side. He was pulling at the plastic containers that held the various instruments and grabbing at people’s bags. When his parents corrected him, he yelled in anger. When the instruments were made available to the kids, he would grab them from the others and scream and throw a tantrum if told to give the item back or if it were taken from him to be put away at the end of each song.
I felt bad for his parents… was he a handful because that’s who he is? Perhaps it’s just his age? Maybe he didn’t get a nap? I don’t know. Everyone mostly tried to ignore him and his antics, including me. I was really trying to enjoy the class.
And then, he decided that he wanted the shaker that William had, not even caring that there were a dozen other shakers just like it on the floor in front of William. I was 3-4 feet behind them, not close enough to intervene quickly and I watched in horror as the kid ran up behind William and grabbed his hair. Twice.
William is too young to defend himself, and so I reached to shield William’s head, at the same time as the kid’s mom yelled her son’s name… but we were both too late. I rubbed William’s head and waited to see William’s reaction. William simply turned and looked at him. The kid grabbed the shaker William was holding and ran away. William furrowed his brow, looked at his empty hand, looked at the kid and then… chose another instrument.
I was relieved but less relaxed. As the class continued, the kid became obsessed with whatever William was doing. Maybe because William was about his size? When it was instrument freestyle time, the teacher was even “dancing” with a hand protectively over William’s head, because that kid was circling William with a lollipop drum. When the song ended, his parents took the instrument he was holding and put it back in the box. The child spotted that William still had his shaker, and so he grabbed it from him. Since all the other instruments had been put away, William started to get upset. I took the shaker back from the child and gave it back to William, just as his mom reprimanded him. At this point, I was pretty stressed and just wanted to tell his parents to, “Please! Hold onto your kid already!”
It finally came time for the ending song. The teacher got her book and the kid ran up to her and grabbed her book. She gently tried to pry it out of his hands, he started screaming. She smiled and “sang” to him, while looking at his parents for help, “I need my book. The song is new. I don’t have it memorized yet…” The parents rocked back and forth next to each other, smiling, from across the room. So the teacher was on her own, with an unruly child who was verging on a tantrum, and a book that was scrunched up in his hands as they battled for possession. I wondered how she was going to handle the situation.
She continued to smile, as she gently enfolded the little boy in a hug. She hugged him tight and close as she sang, and the book emerged in her hand, victorious. The little boy snuggled for a second, and then wiggled free and ran back to his parents.
Of course. Love. Gentleness. A hug. The teacher is a beautiful soul. She just reminded me, through her actions, that kindness and love is sometimes the best recourse against frustration and tantrums.
It’s a good lesson, but I will also say, that kid better not pull my kid’s hair again.