Tolerating Silliness

Annika likes being silly.  She thinks that when she is called a ‘silly girl’ that she has just received the highest compliment possible.  Annika is also not shy at all.  She has no problem going up to people and talking to them.  Sometimes she makes us proud, other times she makes us laugh, and once in a while she loses control of her silly behaviour.  This past weekend we attended the Filberg Festivalnear our home and Annika was in her glory.

The Filberg is an arts festival with lots of wares for sale plus live music on two stages.  We missed it last year as we thought it would be too much for the twins at such a young age but we really wanted to do it well this year.  Lisa and I did go down by ourselves to make sure we could take our time appreciating the festival but we also wanted to take the kids a couple of times as they enjoy music and there were some kids oriented activities we knew they would like.  The trips were successful with everyone having a good time and Annika was able to unleash her adorable silly quirkiness on the art loving hoards.

Annika loves collecting things and one thing she found in this wooded old homestead where the festival was located is acorns.  To Annika this stockpile of acorns was a great treasure that had to be shown off and shared with the festival goers.  The largest acorn she found was hers to flaunt around and the rest would end up as gifts to anyone who smiled at her (plus a few that didn’t).  When she skips along the trail it is very hard not to smile at a five year old so many people were given acorns as gifts from her.  The reactions ranged from outright confusion to the heart-warming appreciation.  Annika thought that every reaction was great and only dinner time and empty pockets were able to stop her from her random acts of generosity.

There was one band Lisa and I really wanted to see so we decided to take the whole family.  The night before we had seen another concert with the kids and while it went pretty well, this time we knew that the venue would be packed and there would be no room for the kids to wander and play.  We were correct because even the dance zone which we enjoyed the night before was full with people sitting on blankets. Annika cannot sit still through a couple songs let alone a full set so she quickly looked for more interesting people to sit with.  On this day she was attracted to babies.  She was at her silly best as Annika kept the babies entertained while the parents enjoyed the music.  Annika was not sitting far from us but do to the concert and the crowd she was out of shouting range and we were pretty boxed in.  As Annika got more comfortable in her surroundings she progressed in her silly behaviour.  Her interpretive dancing was enjoyable but when she was purposely falling over people and getting in their faces and even pinching their cheeks just to get attention we knew that she had crossed the line.

During a break from the show we decided to step in and bring her back to our seats which Annika did not like at all.  She hid under the back of a chair at our feet and ate a snack until the show was over.  She did not even dance to the grand finale which Annika would normally be bouncing around to.  This is an interesting dilemma for us, especially me.  I am quite an introverted person and I have a hard time striking up conversations and drawing attention to myself.  Many times I have wanted to try and stop her behaviour just because it is a bit silly and unusual.  There was no question that we had to stop her once she crossed the line from cute and eccentric to being annoying but I want to make sure that we always interfere in a way that does not crush her spirit.  She was having a great time and our action caused her to mope for the rest of the concert and for most of the way home.  We love her quirkiness and friendly personality but how can we keep that spirit alive and still control the over the top behaviour?  Most likely we handled it the right way and in the long term it won’t stop Annika from being herself.   I just have to get used to our kids drawing attention our way.  While I enjoyed going and listening to music and browsing the art exhibits by myself it was entertaining to see the attention we received from Annika’s acorn gifts, Jada’s sheepish smiles, and Bryce’s show stopping gallop dance.  Just another fun learning experience for this family.

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