Taking advantage of a groupon, I signed Waleed up for a one month Gymboree pass. While okay enough, I don’t know if its $74/month okay enough. Still, today was our last session so I signed up for ‘art’ instead of ‘play’ to see how it went. I felt nervous on my way there because they’ve been really pushing me to renew and I have a very hard time saying no, especially when very nice people get very insistent.
Waleed made a mad dash for the play area and stared at me utterly perplexed as I led him to the art room. As the session went on that look never really left his face:
After about twenty minutes of polite befuddlement at sticky marshmellow [you expect me to touch that?] and finger paints [which he wiped off. On me.] he bolted out of the room. Each time I brought him back he stared at me with a look of betrayal surely wanting to say what he lacked the linguistic capability of shouting: what is wrong with you? There are slides out there. DON’T YOU SEE THE SLIDES? At the umpteenth time of rerouting my runaway child one of the workers approached me.
Bobbi: It’s okay you know. They don’t always like art class at first.
Me: Yeah, he just really loves the playing part.
Bobbi: It’s not his fault. He’s not a bad child for it. It’s normal.
Me: Oh I know, he’s just super active.
Bobbi: Exactly. It doesn’t mean he’s delayed. Or there’s something wrong with him. Or that this is a warning sign for something else. Or that he’s not meeting developmental milestones. Don’t get too worried. It’ll be okay.
As I dragged him home that afternoon hollering his utter disbelief at having been so close to slides he could not slide, two thoughts came to mind: a) I never really thought a dislike for art meant anything other than a dislike for art but thank you very much for that to ponder and b) making an exit with an outspoken toddler amidst a crowd of finger-painted little ones makes the conversation about care to renew please please please a whole lot easier to avoid.
[As an aside, it disturbed me how some construed this post. The intent is to share a ‘day in the life of’ and a reflection on well meaning people who often say things that are just well, befuddling, a thing I do quite often. For the record, I’m not worried his lack of interest in art is anything other than a lack of interest in art though I reserve the right to write about things I am concerned about if I choose to]