11/05/2014 01:19 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2015

Depending on Where You Meet Us

Shari Medini

We all know how important first impressions are. It occurred to me recently that where you are meeting me and my boys has a lot to do with what you think of us...

You meet us in the library...

Julian is tearing books off the shelves as quickly as possible while chewing on his favorites simultaneously. Matteo is whining about how he doesn't want any books and just wants DVDs. They crawl under and over the chairs at story time, refusing to sing any of the songs or participate in any way. Afterwards, Matteo take off sprinting and hollering through the rows of books while Julian screams about being anywhere besides my arms (which are full of books, bags and binkies). At checkout, I discover that I have a $10 fine because I renewed the previous 10 DVDs a day late ($1 per DVD per day). I pull out what I think is my library card, but it is my debit card that I accidentally grabbed instead. I drag them all out to the car crying because Matteo wanted to push the button that he always presses (even though it specifically says that it is not for kids).

We look like a whiny, grouchy, worn down, frazzled mess.

On the other hand...

You meet us in the park...

Julian is exploring on his wobbly legs. Matteo is giggling and chatting with other kids. They both climb high, run fast and slide down big slides without any help. I get to sit and observe and watch them play. No one is hanging on me; they both come back and check in from time to time. I have brought a bag of sand toys, various snacks, water bottles, wipes and a portable potty. We leave the park together -- happy, dirty and just the right amount of tired.

We look like a chatty, cheery, energetic bunch.

I've learned two lessons from this observation:
  1. My boys thrive in an active environment. Not all children enjoy the same things. We shouldn't avoid all of the uncomfortable situations for my sons, but they need me to give them some slack when they are out of their element. I shouldn't get so frustrated when they will not cooperate in those types of situations.
  2. We shouldn't judge other people and their children when they may be out of their element. The timid little kid on the playground might be the one singing all the songs in library group! I will promise to cut you some slack if you don't give me the evil eye at the library... deal? ;)

Previously posted on