Three-year-olds are self-centered by nature. I get that. I've been living with a three-year old for about four months now. However, someone of the three-year-olds that I have watched interact at Gabe's gym class are beyond self-centered and bordering the line into bully territory. This past Saturday there was this one girl in particular that had me tempted to go into the gym room and protect my son.
Unfortunately, I was by myself and had Nick with me, in a seat right by the door, so getting up to go into the gym room really wasn't an option. I could only watch as this girl was repeatedly (and intentionally) mean to Gabe.
Now, you might say that she is only three, so maybe she didn't realize what she was doing, and in many cases I would be tempted to believe that, as my own three-year-old is often mean or rude with out malicious intent. But when you run up behind someone and push them off a balance beam (more than once), and not an oops, I bumped into you push, but a hands up into shoulders with effort push, that's intentional. Luckily the balance beam was a floor one, so he only fell two or three inches, but still, where were her parents?
Unfortunately that was not the only thing she did that was rude. At another activity station the kids were supposed to walk across uneven bars (hands on the high bar and feet on the low bar) and numerous times she pushed in front of Gabe to go first. At one point when he was waiting his turn and was about to start walking across (when she was about halfway across) she walked back the other way to block him from going. Another time she started going right after he started and he decided to just drop off the bars rather than risk anything else she might do.
I was proud of him for not retaliating, as there were other kids that were getting aggressive, but he just went about trying to do what he was supposed to, although, occasionally having trouble using his listening ears. Gym class is actually really beneficial, and this is his first non-parent child class. He gets to work out some energy during the hour class, learn new skills, and work on his listening. We started Gabriel shortly after his first birthday, and had we thought of it probably would have started him at 10 months. However, we do plan to start Nick at 10 months, which means in January Nick will start his first parent child class. I'm looking forward to it.