My son loves to move. Every time we get into the car, we have a race to see who can run the fastest. He is always demonstrating a new move he can do which lately involves gymnastic-like jumps off the couch. So really, I should not be surprised.
Last night, we went to a dance concert to see his godmother dance. For the last few years, I haven't taken him since it's in a formal setting meaning a chair and the understanding that he has to sit still. But leaving him at home means paying a sitter. It's expensive and we don't have a lot right now. Plus he complains stating that he wants to go too. So I decided this year to take him.
Four year old boys can't sit in formal chairs in a new place without talking or moving or trying to kick someone for more than 30 seconds. Before the show even started, I was plagued with guilt for everyone around us. My attention was divided between his body and the stage. We moved to a new location after intermission to give him more space to move. It helped and exhausted me at the same time. In that quiet space, my son knew that I could not verbally scold him. I had to let it happen. His movements included jumping, climbing and chewing on his water bottle.
Most people were unaware of this struggle. My son's outbursts were typically at the end of every number when clapping was happening and the lights were dimmed. He looked handsome in his collar shirt. He got to see his god parents, but I made a decision right there.
Minus work and my random acts of exercise on the treadmill, I don't have a lot of things that are just for me. He does - dance class, swimming lessons, play time, etc. I was looking forward to the dance concert and seeing my old dance friends again. Instead of chatting with anyone, I had to stay on top of my son.
I know. He has to learn how to sit still. It's a skill just like walking, running and climbing. Right now, he is not there yet. I told him in the car that next time, there will be a babysitter. He was upset. He refused to sleep in protest. At 11pm, I found him asleep in the fetal position on the floor with his lights on in his bedroom. This morning, we chatted about it. I reminded him that moving is just part of his nature and learning to be still is a skill that he hasn't acquired yet.
So my son is learning to sit still and I am learning that it's OK to put him in another person's care for a moment and be present somewhere else. It seems silly I know, but this lesson for me seems so hard to learn.