William Cried Twice

I discovered something that reliably pushes William over the edge into a crying fit-- the screeches of other kids.

William was sitting across the table from baby H this morning at baby club, when H let out a big old happy screech. William immediately started crying hysterically. I couldn't even calm him down at the table, I had to get up and leave the room.

Later this afternoon, I took W to Pen Park since I was up on that side of town, and W was clearly not going to sit in his stroller for any more shopping at that point. There were TONS of kids there, probably around 50, all ages. I let William crawl around the play structure for the younger kids (age 2-5). The ground was some sort of spongy rubbery surface, pretty comfortable. I had to follow him pretty closely, not so much to keep him from crawling somewhere he'd hurt himself, but to make sure no little kids ran over his fingers or anything. The toddlers were really oblivious to the other kids around them at times.

The toddlers did think it was something of a novelty to have a baby crawling around the playground-- there were many shouts, "look at the baby!" and, "can I go play with the baby?" Of course, once they came over and I said they could play with the baby, they saw that all he did was stare at them so the kids got bored within seconds and ran away back to the group without so much as a wave good-bye.

William had been playing fine for twenty minutes or so, when all of a sudden the happy yells of children turned to screeching. No one getting hurt, no fights or anything, just kids deciding to screech. Between three to five at once, I'd guess. Well THAT pushed baby W over the edge. Once again, I had a baby hysterically crying his eyes out. I carried him over to our blanket, but it was apparently still too near the scene of the commotion, so we left the park entirely.

I suppose this is something W should get used to-- if he's going to play with other kids, there is going to be screeching. I'm glad the parks are so full of kids now, I think it helps that I'm getting a better sense of which parks have moms with babies and which don't.

I read something interesting in the latest parenting theory book I got-- kids learn to socialize from their friends, then apply what they've learned to their siblings. They don't learn from their siblings and apply the knowledge to their friends. So despite popular perception, only kids are not at a disadvantage there. Which is not to say that all stereotypes about only kids are without merit, since parents do tend to treat them differently when there is only one, but just that kids don't really learn to share and get along by having siblings. The fact is, they abuse their siblings way more than they abuse their friends, because the siblings are stuck, and will always be there no matter what happens. But other kids won't be their friend anymore if they are mean, so that is how a kid gets socialized, by having friends.