I can't stand it when I make kids cry.
Every week at Toddler Time I come to the point in the program where I have kids sit on their parent's/caregiver's lap. Some kids know this is coming, and anticipate it. They know some child is going to get to sit on my lap and the moment they hear me say "Go sit on someone's lap," they make a beeline for me. So at times it turns out that the same couple of children get to sit on my lap week after week. I try to deal with this by nabbing a child close to me and asking if they'd like to sit on my lap. Last Thursday a boy was nearby and when I asked him, he seemed agreeable. I sat him down in front of me for "Criss Cross Applesauce." He was a little squirmy, but cooperated when I straightened him out. When I came to the end of the second round I leaned over to look at him and say "Yay!" and I saw his face melting into tears! Apparently the squirminess was him wanting to go back to Mom, but he was such a good boy he did what I asked, and I couldn't see his face to know what was going on. By the time it was over he'd had more than he could stand. I felt awful!
Then I came to book time. There's one little girl who always hurries up to me so she can sit in the front row and show me how good she is about keeping her feet in front of her. She's the type that loves the one-on-one connection and chats me up whenever she has the chance. This time something delayed her when I pulled out the book, and the front row was full when she got there. There just wasn't room for her, so she had to sit in the back. She went to her mom and cried the saddest tears you've ever seen. I felt awful!
Another hard time is when I stamp the kids' hands and bellies. I have to have a rule that I only give each child two stamps. With thirty or thirty-five children, I just have to limit it or we'd be there all day. Maybe I shouldn't have, but I started giving the option of stamping two hands or one hand and one belly stamp. The problem comes when kids put both hands on their heads, which I stamp, and then lift up their shirts for a belly stamp. They mean for me to only stamp one hand, but when I'm zipping along I don't get the message. So then what do I do? If I go ahead and stamp the belly, the message the other kids get is "Some kids get three stamps, but not me." If I say no to stamping the belly, sometimes the child cries and, yes, I feel awful.
But then last week I got two hugs and a kiss, so I feel better.