This past weekend we went to two birthday parties, celebrating for three kids. Suddenly we felt like a social family. How weird!
At the first party, a large affair with tens of kids, a pool, a bouncy castle, lego tossing, lego gift bags, a tent, and two cakes, one of the activities was a pair of pinatas that the kids got to bust open. Sadly there was no whacking with a bat. Perhaps that’s a good thing, though. Instead, the kids grabbed strings hanging down from the pinata bellies and pulled open a rift out of which candy, in the case of one pinata, and legos, in the cast of the other, showered.
All the kids rushed in to start grabbing up candy and lego pieces. All except Siena. The poor girl just stood on the ring of kids and hovered around. I was going to say she was like the last puppy to the milk dish, with nowhere to squeeze in to get milk, but she wasn’t even trying to squeeze in. She looked pretty forlorn and pitiful. Eventually, a space opened up on the side opposite her, and we directed her over to it. By this point all the candy was gone and only a few dozen lego pieces were left. She very carefully squatted down and very deliberately analyzed and claimed a handful of lego pieces.
I thought to myself that perhaps with this lack of assertiveness she really won’t be ready for kindergarten when we’ve been thinking she could be. She was just so tentative. It was a little disconcerting.
A few days later, I asked her about it. I asked if she remembered when they opened the pinatas and the lego’s fell out, and how she didn’t go in to grab any until most of the kids had left. I asked her why she hadn’t just gone in and starting grabbing pieces like the other kids did.
Siena replied, “There wasn’t any room” to get in there.
I asked her why she didn’t nudge any other kids aside. She answered, “I was waiting my turn.”
Both Mama and I had an “awwww” moment when she said this. Such a polite girl!
I explained to Siena that it’s OK if she asks the other kids to move and make room for her, and next time she should feel free to go right in there and have the other kids make room for her. I don’t want her shoving kids aside (not like she would), but I also don’t want her to always be so considerate (manifesting as tentative) that she doesn’t get what she wants for herself.
We’ll have to see how she evolves in this area. Right now, she’s a very good team player. We want her to keep that up while also being assertive when she needs to be.