Once a month I worked in my church nursery. This particular day
we had a full nursery. The children’s ages ranged from infant to three years old.
Tiffani, a three year old, was an adorable little girl with a pixie kind of face. She was
normally very well behaved, but this Sunday she had a very hard time keeping
her hands to herself. She’d walk up to a child and swipe a toy right out of
their hands and run off or push another child and make off with their toy.
When I corrected her and asked her why she was behaving that way she’d say,
“But, I’m just a baby!” I was perplexed by her comments. I told her if she
continued to not play nicely she would have to stand in the corner, the usual
nursery discipline for this age.
“I will play nice now,” she said.
I knew her mom and dad well. They prided themselves in teaching their
children good manners. Tiffani was their youngest child. Just minutes after
our conversation, Tiffani was back to hitting and taking toys from
the other children.
“Tiffani, it is not nice to hit this little girl and take her doll. Remember
what we talked about? It’s time to stand in the corner,” I said. She ran off and
refused to obey.
“I will have go to get your mom if you don’t listen to me.” I said.
Reluctantly, she walked herself to a corner of the room and stood there with
a big pout on her face. Then, she began crying softly and repeatedly telling
herself, “No! No! I am only a baby! I can’t stand in the corner. I’m just a
baby! I am only a baby!” I had to keep myself from chuckling.
After her time was up in the corner, she behaved well for the rest of the nursery
time. When her mom came to get her, I told her about the incidents with
Tiffani and what she said. Her mom smiled.
“Hmmm! It seems she may have misunderstood my conversations about her to her older siblings at home. We’ll definitely have to try something different.” Her mom confirmed what I assumed. This precious little one heard this at home so much when her siblings complained about her naughty behavior, she thought anything she did was ok because Mommy said she was “just a baby”.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian ©2013