Monday, December 23, 2013

Parenthood: Week 30 - Introducing Ollie To My Other Kids

I've been touched by my students' enthusiasm about Ollie every since I announced that my wife was pregnant. Of course some students cared more than others, but the overall vibe of the room whenever I mention Ollie is filled excitement.  While I knew that my students would be excited to meet Ollie for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I had concerns about bringing Ollie to my school. First off, my school other schools is a building where hundreds of students walk through the hallways. With this many students going through a building, germs are an issue, which is why we didn’t bring Ollie to my school when he was very young.

Ollie actually visited my school during the summer l as out and met some teachers and a couple students who were around. Teachers like most adults know how to be polite and respect boundaries when it comes to babies. The few students who met Ollie could take instructions from me about how to interact with him, so that visit went fine.

This visit was going to be different. Diana was bringing Ollie to our Holiday music assembly. This meant that there would be an auditorium full of people.   From previous experiences we learned that Ollie didn’t really like crowds, so I worried about how he would handle the situation.

Then there are my students, my kids. While I have no doubt that theu would be respectful when they met Ollie, I wasn’t sure how they would act around Ollie when they were in a large group.

The fifth grade had just ended the assembly by singing “Auld Lang Syne.” I instructed them to sit on the stage in the places they had just performed and let the audience leave before they were excused. As they were waiting for the other students to leave, I went back to my wife at the back of the auditorium, took Ollie from her and walked him onto the stage.

Before I knew it, Ollie was mobbed. My students forgot their directions to stay seated on stage and a crowd of kids huddled close reaching out to greet Ollie. I immediately panicked, worrying that Ollie was being overwhelming by the crowd, but as I looked at his face, I saw him smiling and giggling at the smiling faces.

At a certain point, I asked my kids to give Ollie some space and the fifth grade teachers helped settle the students down.  Then I handed Ollie off to Diana who had made her way to the corner of the stage. She had similar concerns that I did about how Ollie would handle a crowd, but I assured her that he did fine.

Ollie can sense a lot of things about the world around him. While he doesn’t like crowds just like his mom and dad, I think this experience was different. The energy and attention was positive and supportive. Ollie knew that these people were delighted to see him and instead of panicking at this new situation, he basked in this moment.

There was something very special about Ollie meeting the other children in my life. It’s difficult sometimes to share my time between my school kids and Ollie but it’s helps knowing how much my students are excited about Ollie and how much Ollie enjoys my students.

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