Friday, August 19, 2011

Attention: I Need Your Attention

The girls finished swim lessons today. Sedona jumped into the deep end (with a life guard catching her) for the first time. Actually, she allowed another life guard to pick her up and drop her in, but it was huge progress because she's been scared of that all along. Sierra made it about 1/3 of the way across the pool doing free-style, with her face in the water (also a huge deal).

But sadly, another memory also sticks with me. It's the memory of a little girl about Sierra's age standing in line waiting for her turn to go down the water slide. She turned around toward where the parents sit and yelled, "Mommy! I'm gonna go down the slide!" She moved one space closer and yelled, "Mommy! Watch me!! I'm gonna go down the slide!!" another space closer and again, "Mommy! Mommy!! Watch me!!" At this point I turned around to see who her mom was. Mom was sitting in a chair texting or checking facebook or who knows what. The little girl yelled out to her again. Mom never even looked up, just distractedly nodded her head. This little girl was literally begging for attention. Put down the damn phone and watch your kid do something they're really proud of. Clap and cheer and give them a hug when they're finished. And if you can't handle looking out for their emotional health, at least keep an eye on their physical safety. The life guards are good, but they're still working with 4 kids each, on average, so it really doesn't hurt to keep an eye out and make sure your kid hasn't slipped off without someone noticing. I know the "Look at me! Look at meeee! Look at meeeeeeee" bit can get old, but don't you remember being a kid? It's really not hard to just look and say "great job!" I promise, your kid's gonna remember if they weren't worth 2 seconds of your time.


Carolyn said...

I would love for my autistic son to beg for my attention. Or go out of his way to show me something he had done. I still praise him when he does or creates something excellent. But he's unable to draw my attention to it. It's just not a social skill that he has.

Just once I'd like to hear "Look at me."

The Hills said...

I honestly didn't even think of that aspect, but you're absolutely right. I take those communication skills for granted sometimes and it's really something that should be appreciated...when our children accomplish something new, are proud of themselves, want to share it with us AND are able to do so. There's a lot going on there that has to go right for that chain of events to play out. (which only makes it more infuriating that someone can't then put down the phone and say, "Hey! That's awesome! You went down the slide!"

Tamara said...

I see this all the time. At the park the little girl on the swing wants to be pushed (I'm pushing Allison on the swing). I look around and see a parent on the phone with their back to the child. So I push both. That is just one example that has happened a couple of times. I see it everywhere and wonder, sometimes frustrated. But then I remember I'm not a perfect parent and I'd hate them to catch me at my worst. I think, maybe that's their worst?

Does that make any sense?

The Hills said...

Definitely makes sense and I hope that's their worst, but I feel like people are often at their best in public when other eyes are watching? That worries me.


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