Last week, a friend asked if I would bring the Bean to a college class that her husband taught. He wanted his students to get a chance to observe infants and toddlers- to see how they play, how they learn and how they react to things. I agreed immediately with the big disclaimer that I had no idea- none what so ever- how the Bean would react in front of a class full of college kids. Would she charm them? Cling to me? Throw a fit? Ignore them all and play quietly? With Bean you literally never know what you’re going to get one minute to the next.
So today was the day. We had been talking for two days about going to Mr. Steve’s class and playing with the big kids. We practiced how we’d show them how the Bean hops, how she can find her body parts, and we talked about stories she could tell. I may or may not have also tempted her with the promise of M&M’s if she was good, so I was feeling good walking into the classroom.
At first, Bean was enthralled with the puzzles so I was able to sneak away and let her play with the students. I was mentally high-fiving myself thinking I was now going to have an hour to talk to the other mom’s there- women who I don’t spend enough time with even though I wish I did- while the Bean was babysat by 30 college kids. Yeah- I’m an idiot. The Bean lasted all of 2 minutes before she noticed I was gone and she made a beeline right back to me.
That started the clingy phase of the class, where she would only do something if she was also hanging on to me. She didn’t want to play, she didn’t want color, she didn’t want to read and she didn’t want to answer any of the questions asked to her. She wanted to sit on my lap and watch the students watch her. So…yeah, that’s fun for everyone.
At Mr. Steve’s suggestion, we implemented Plan B and took Bean out to the hallway to see if she’d loosen up by running around. Nope- the only way she’d run was if she was chasing me half laughing and half crying the whole time. Do you know how dumb 30-something me felt running around the hallway with my 2 year old chasing me in front of 8 teenagers just standing there watching us? Thank God I have no pride or shame- parenthood is good getting rid of those.
After that fun we moved back into the classroom where, with a combination of great students, cookies and an fun coloring book, Bean finally, finally warmed up. She turned on the charm and answered questions, played and was generally having a ball. It only took 50 minutes of the 60 minute class.
At the end of the class, Bean was saying she wanted to go back every week and play with her new friends! As for me, I’m game as long as there are more muffins.