We’ve been back to the library for Spanish class twice since our first attendance. Our second visit went much more smoothly. This time we didn’t arrive early so Sam didn’t get a chance to be distracted by other interesting nooks or toys. Without the ride on truck he’d found last time he wasn’t so disruptive. Bagpuss came with us and was very attentive, especially when the teachers petted him and told him how to say “little pink cat” in Spanish. Miaou.
The children were read a story about eight cold forest animals who on a wintry snowy day found a lost mitten to hide inside to keep warm. They then got to act out the story using a blanket for the animals to climb beneath, and cut and paste paper animals onto a paper mitten and colour them in. Sam got most excited about that, he likes crafts and glue, especially glue.
The morning was much more successful. Look, here he is giving the teachers his full attention and being a good participant:
And here he is mixing well with the other children, eager to expand his skills and learn some Spanish:
Yeah, I wouldn’t go as far as to say Sam was very focused on the class. Bea had some good tummy time though and should I ever have the need Mummy now knows how to say “fox” and “bear” in Spanish. Very useful.
Our second class did lull me into thinking that maybe, given time, Sam could be manageable. The next week we took the train into town full of hope that we could enjoy a fun hour of Spanish at the library before nipping over to the Mint Museum to check out their monthly toddler art activity. I should’ve known better. We had a disastrous morning and I was left never wanting to take him out in public ever again.
It was going pretty well until I had to feed Bea. While I was sat dealing with her about half an hour into the class a large group of the children suddenly had to leave. They were standing up, milling around, putting coats on and being made to hold knots tied onto a long piece of string. It was hard to see past them and then I noticed that Sam had his jacket and was preparing to leave too. With Baby Bea latched on I tried to get past the tangle of children and get to Sam but he was too quick and took his chance to leg it. I had to go searching through the library looking for him but he had disappeared.
A librarian saw my concern and stopped to help. As I was describing Sam to her another member of staff overheard and pointed out my errant toddler heading up the ramp to the second floor by himself. I raced to recapture him with Bea now bawling. She was angry to be interrupted mid feed and really helped matters by projectile vomiting over my shoulder as I pinned Sam down and tried to reason with him.
Sam twisted away and ran off in the other direction with me following. He was quick and I found him hiding behind the curtains in a puppet theatre. Poor Baby Bea was getting bumped around as I attempted to get Sam to come back to the Spanish area. I was stuck, we couldn’t just leave because our stroller was parked at the other end of the library. I had to dump Bea onto the floor to have my hands free as Sam kicked, screamed, punched and pulled my hair in a fit of rage. I was that mother with the uncontrollable child causing a tremendous scene in the middle of the library. Everyone was watching, everyone could hear us. It was awful.
What was worse is as I lost my patience I found myself deliberately gripping him harder than necessary in an attempt to get some sort of recognition from him. I’ve never hit my son but I yanked him around that morning to try to get him to acknowledge me. There was just no glimmer of understanding on his face at all, no sign that he was paying any attention to me whatsoever. I wanted desperately for him to realise how important it was for him to stay with us. It scared me that I would intentionally try to hurt and frighten him like that just to feel that I was there in his head. Mind you it didn’t work. Nothing I did or said seemed to be getting through at all. It just left me feeling terrible and absolutely powerless to deal with him.
I eventually managed to make it back to our stroller and buckle him in as he writhed and twisted angrily away from me. The only way I could get him to even vaguely listen was to promise him a train ride home.
That also had its problems. On the train Sam calmed down but when it was time to get off I almost ended up with Bea and stroller on the platform and Sam at the next station. He backed right into his seat and kicked and screamed at me as I tried to get him off the train. I had to drag a furious Sam through the beeping doors as they closed on us.
Then we still had to walk home.