Anaín Bjorkquist

never underestimate a child – especially one of mine!

Like all mothers I will tell you that my children are simply amazing and I will let you know that my sons can succeed at anything they set their minds to. That’s why I’m going to need for people who don’t know my children to NOT say shit to them about what they can or can’t do. Background story…

We went ice skating last night to a local place where we had never been before. We arrived stood in line behind a family with one small child waited and then it was our turn. I told the lady there would be five of us skating and gave her the check card then she tells me it will be seventy-five dollars. She looks over the counter and down towards my five year old.

She asks, “How old is he?”

I respond, “Five.”

She then asks, “Has he done this before?”

I answer, “No.”

She points to the gigantic message on the counter that reads:

NO REFUNDS

She responds loud enough for my baby to hear, “Well, we don’t do refunds and since he will probably only go around once fall then start crying I’m only charging you ten for him.”

I was fine with her charging me less for him but I wasn’t okay with her underestimating him and voicing it to his face loud enough for him to hear!

What happened next made me so angry that I am surprised that I was able to hold my tongue as well as I did. As we all one by one start providing the lady a wrist for her to put an admission band on, I look down and my youngest is crying. Correction he wasn’t crying he was BAWLING! Now, my middle son crying about something that happens often, he will cry if the wind hits him the wrong way, but not the youngest. My youngest usually has a comeback for everything and everyone…his self confidence is not easy to shatter but on this particular evening he started crying.

His father picks him up and asks, “Why are you crying baby?”

She said, I’m going to fall and can ONLY go around ONCE!

That’s when I use my almost outside voice to tell my son, “SHE doesn’t know you and is ASSUMING about what you will or will not do. SHE doesn’t know you baby but Mommy does and you’re going to rock at this.”

The lady who had assumed didn’t say shit but the older lady beside her who looked to be the owner of the place and the first lady’s mother asks, “Is he okay? She didn’t mean to make him cry it is just that we don’t give refunds and a lot of parents…”

I cut her off, “I saw and READ the sign on the counter about no refunds and I would never ask for a refund but I sure would have paid extra for her to not assume and voice her opinion about what my son was going to do aloud in front of him.”

I kept it moving towards skate rental pick up line. My youngest though was still crying as we got his skates, as we put them on him, as we got on the ice and as he started to skate. It took this Mommy a lot of sweet encouraging words to get his confidence back up especially after each of his five or six falls. Regardless of how our evening started we made the best of it as a family. For two hours my youngest took turns skating with his father and I. He fell. He cried. He tried again. He conquered as best as he could his first time on ice skates. He is a child after all and he is allowed to fall and cry and go around only once if that is what he chooses!

As adults though it is NOT for us to determine upon first sight what a child is capable of, what he/she will or will not do and how he/she will react to a new experience!

It HURTS to have someone underestimate you. It hurt me as a kid, it has hurt me as an adult but it has never hurt as much as when it is done to one of my children. This wasn’t the first time someone assumed my child could or could not do something. This won’t be the last. My job as a mother though is to knock out whatever idea that person puts in my child’s head and help them overcome! My youngest woke up this morning and proclaimed, “I am going to practice ice skating Mom.” Yes, those were his first words this morning. This Mommy had already looked up ice skating lessons at a different rink and will be taking her Kings beginning second week of January so that he CAN!

In related news, my two oldest who I’ve taken ice skating before enjoyed themselves despite all the falling they did. My middle son who lives in his shell that never seeks the limelight displayed some skills on ice skates. He was so good that my oldest who always wants to outshine everyone spent the evening a little upset that he couldn’t beat his brother at this. I made sure to tell my oldest it was okay for his brother to be great at something while encouraging every achievement the middle one made on the ice. He may have found his passion…I’ll save those details for another post.

© Anaín Bjorkquist December 22, 2010 ~ All Rights Reserved.

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