Posts Tagged ‘ playdate ’

Milestone Monday: Is Your Toddler Different At School?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Is it a milestone to suddenly turn shy? To go from boisterous to bashful?

The other day I went to pick Fia up from preschool. I asked the director if she was the wildest one in her class. What she said made no sense to me.

“Fia? No, she’s probably the quietest one.”

Huh? Feral Fia? The one who never stops chatting at home? Who oozes personality and spunk? Who dances and climbs and twirls? Even the other day while we were sitting at dinner, she squeezed her eyes shut, put her hands in prayer position, and went into a yoga chant. Phil and I almost died laughing.

“Fia, where did you learn that?”

“From yoga at school!” she exclaimed.

I’ve seen her do downward dog and tree pose, but the chants blew me away. It was so damn funny.

The school situation has me baffled. They said that during free play, she usually just plays quietly with herself, reading books or coloring. During the structured activities she is with everyone else. But other times she’s kind of a loner.

They told me she often stands back and just watches the other kids; that she is an observer, not a participant. I don’t know why the thought of that breaks my heart, but it does. Is she shy? Scared? Not confident? This is a girl that for months couldn’t stop hugging every kid she met.

She’s 2 years and 7 months. Is this still the age of parallel play? Or is she insecure? This side of her is a mystery to me.

She only goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The teachers suggested we bump her up to 3 days in a row. Tue-Wed-Thur. Perhaps the repetition will make her more interactive with the other kids.

I have no doubt this is a great preschool. So it’s not that. Maybe my girl is just more subdued in unfamiliar situations? Or larger crowds? The other day our nanny had 6 kids over. Phil observed from his study that while all the other kids were running through the sprinklers, Fia just stood back and watched. She did that for 10 minutes. When she is one-on-one with a playdate, she is much more engaged. I’ve never seen her just stand back.

Should I tell our nanny and the school to pull her into the group more? Or is this something where you take a hands off approach and let her find her own way? Is going to preschool for 3 days in a row a wise choice, so it becomes more familiar? (It’s only from 9-1 pm).

I’m looking for advice from the moms who have been there before me. I don’t want to overstep my bounds with her, but I don’t want to ignore something either. Thoughts?

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Do We Overbook Ourselves and Our Kids?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In the running world it’s called bonking. In motherhood it’s called overbooking. The end result is the same: exhaustion.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the endless stream of company and chaos (albeit, self-imposed) affected my milk supply. Luckily I got it back up by putting brakes on the crazy. Things are much more calm around here lately.

I  started to think about why I pushed myself to such a ridiculous point and to to thinking: does it seem like our generation of moms feel the need to constantly get out and “do” more than previous generations? My mother-in-law, my aunt, and countless older moms have teased me about how much Fia and I were on the go the first two years. Part of it was living in an apartment in Brooklyn. You’ll go stir crazy if you don’t get outside. Part of it was the need to connect to other moms. But is there another part in our technologically-obsessed, plugged-in culture that makes us incapable of sitting at home? Or god forbid, letting our children entertain themselves?

Recently I was feeling guilty for not taking Emmett to the “Mommy and Me” movies. Every week in LA a couple of the movie theaters show a new release for moms.  You bring your babies. Diaper changes, crying and breastfeeding are the norm. No one cares because you’re all in the same boat. I did it when Fia was 3 months old (we were out here for a brief stretch). Her first movie was “Shutter Island.” Okay, now read the first sentence of this paragraph again. Guilty? For Emmett? He gets no benefit from the movies. It’s purely for me.

Could  the play date and having to ”do” something with the kids end up being harmful? Does it gear them up to think they ”have” to be entertained or go somewhere? Instead should we be teaching them calm and quiet? To play with themselves? Commune in nature?  My aunt thinks so. She feels that the drive in this generation of moms will lead to some uncontrollable kids/tweens/teens who don’t know what to do with themselves if they aren’t “doing.”  As she put it, “Being able to be alone with yourself, entertain yourself, read, etc., is paramount to becoming a well balanced, non-hyperactive teen and adult.”

Are we selfish in wanting to see movies and do yoga while dragging our babies along for the ride in the guise of “mommy and me” classes?  Or are we helping ourselves get through motherhood by creating our own villages? If it’s the latter, they are very activity-centered villages. At least mine always have been.

I’m sure the ability to text a friend and get an instant response contributes to the ease of meeting up. Before the age of email and cell phones, it may have been different by default, not choice. But is this the right choice for us and our kids? I don’t know. I think it’s something to ponder.

Thoughts anyone?

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Fia Friday: Best Photo Yet

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Friday for a dose of cuteness as I share snapshots of Fia.  Adorable photos are guaranteed on Fia Friday!

We took Fia to a birthday party. They had a huge ball pit that created loads of static electricity. Every time I look at this pic, I crack up.

Static Electric Hair-Do

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Milestone Monday: Too Much Hugging? (Operation Failure)

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between.  Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!

I think Operation Hugs and Snugs has become a failure. Not because it didn’t work, but because it worked too well. To summarize: Fia wasn’t a huge snugger in the beginning. But through army-like training, she became one.

Now, just two weeks shy of her 2-year birthday, I find her wanting to kiss and hug every child she plays with. She doesn’t stop there though. She literally hugs them so tight that she tackles them to the floor.  Now some tots seem to roll with it. Others not so much. And with this particular tot friend, Nate, she met her match. It was like watching two babies sumo wrestle.

The Wrestlers

I almost wonder if somehow I’ve encouraged this behavior, not only from smothering her myself (I can’t get enough of kissing her, and just found this article on the science of kissing), but also because of her relationship with Wayne Sanchez. We call her a barnacle baby. She latches onto him and doesn’t let go until one of us pulls her off, kicking and screaming. She’s like a magnet to living beings. A sweet leech, if there is such a thing.

An Incredibly Patient Wayne Sanchez

Not sure what to do about this. I tell her constantly to leave the cat alone; that he’s feisty. (She repeats after me, “feisty, feisty” but continues to cling, choke, and smother.)  I tell her that not all babies want to be clung to like a parasite. She burrows on in. I find myself apologizing to parents for her behavior, as their child wails and clings to them for dear life. The more they hide behind an adult or run away, the more she laughs and chases. Good god, what if she becomes a serial stalker? At the age of 2? At least I bet her mug shot would be cute…

Is this a milestone or madness? I know it’s maddening for me–and from the cries, I am guessing some of her tot friends feel the same.

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Feeling Blue

Monday, November 7th, 2011

I just started crying. It came out of nowhere. It was bound to happen. You can’t go through moving your entire family across the country while pregnant, leaving your base of mom friends and a totally different way of living without expecting some sort of emotional toll.

Don’t get me wrong. I wanted to move to LA. I was sick of apartment living, having no yard, strolling everywhere (as in subways, sidewalks, sometimes up to 6 miles a day). New York City is an exhausting place to raise a baby. Now I have a car, a house and a yard. But I feel devoid of my mom posse. Or any sort of routine for me and Fi.

I know it takes time. I know I’m social enough and I will connect with people. I know Fia will get her sleep back under control and we’ll get into our groove. But right now, at this moment, it just feels daunting.

I also realize that since I left home for college 20+ years ago, I’ve never lived in a house for any extended period of time. I’ve always lived in the center of a city. Even if that city was Omaha. Or Sioux Falls. I almost feel like I’m impersonating someone. Is this new lifestyle “me?” At 40+ years old, what if I don’t adjust? I know it sounds crazy, and there are much bigger problems, like world peace and the Eurozone to worry about, but it’s just how I’m feeling at the moment.

I have 3 months to get this all down before the new baby comes. That is plenty of time. And this is my first real day without the chaos of a move or company (my in-laws were here for 10 days and so I had constant daycare and people around me). So I need to go with it.

I have a playdate set up with a mom friend I knew from a few years back. She’s coming over tomorrow with her daughter who is Fia’s age. So hopefully I’ll feel a bit more grounded. But the bottom line: change is hard. But also fun. I am looking forward to feeling the fun part soon.

 

Photo: Woman with Crossed Arms by Picasso.

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