Today was first day of bike camp. Maddi had been excited for this day to come. When I showed up a bit early at pickup, I witnessed the instructor talking to Maddi and asking her to apologize. I wasn’t sure what happened and what Maddi was being asked to apologize for. It’s amazing all the thoughts that go through my parent mind!
We try not to demand apologies from Maddi, so I can pretty much guess that the instructor wasn’t going to be successful in getting an apology out of her. What we try to do is go over what happened and have her consider the impact of her actions, then ask what she would like to do about it. And most of the time, she comes up with needing to apologize and give the person she hurt a hug, all on her own. I worried about this unresolved issue rolling out into the rest of the week with the instructor not liking Maddi and being frustrated at her, which in turn will result to being an awful experience for Maddi. Like me, Maddi has a hard time with falling out of favour with people. In my head, I was going through how I would approach this situation. I didn’t want to come across as a parent who views her child as incapable of doing anything wrong, yet I also didn’t want Maddi to be misunderstood or for her to feel like she doesn’t have my support. Heavy, right?! Yah, sometimes, I can get overly serious about things. It means I care deeply about this stuff, but I’m also present to how I can use a bit of lightening up sometimes.
This photo was taken right after I signed her out; she was upset and I haven’t yet had the opportunity to have a conversation with her about what had happened. Look at the scowl on that face!
I asked the instructor if Maddi wasn’t listening, but she only told me about how Maddi did as far as her biking skills go. So I figured I would have to get it out of Maddi as to what happened.
Initially, Maddi hesitated to tell me what happened by saying “I forgot” when asked what happened and why the instructor was asking her to apologize. And she said she didn’t like her instructor and asked if she could have a different instructor. I told her I can’t just ask to switch her to a different group. So I told her I’ll have to ask her instructor what happened if she forgot and couldn’t tell me. She then told me she knocked over the cones that another kid stacked. She was just having fun and playing, and didn’t mean to be mean about it. It was only after she knocked it over and when the instructor got mad at her for doing so that she realized she wasn’t supposed to. They have an exercise they do in the same camp she took last year where they do crash into the stacked cones, so perhaps it’s why Maddi thought that’s what they were doing. I explained to her that perhaps the instructor got mad because that’s not what they were supposed to do and she thought she wasn’t being respectful to the other kid. I asked what she wanted to do about it and my people pleasing child answers, “make her cookies?” I said, “No, we don’t have to make her cookies, but maybe we can go and talk to her right now and tell her you didn’t mean to be mean about it. And maybe you can apologize for knocking over the cones anyway.” She agreed. We approached her instructor and with a hug, she sorted it out and she felt better about going back to her group tomorrow.
Update: Without prompting, Maddi apologized to the other kid the next day. When I asked how the other kid responded, Maddi said the other kid wasn’t even upset over her knocking over the cones, but she said sorry anyway. This makes me present to how as adults, we can project our good/bad, right/wrong onto interactions that we witness in children.