It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Ambivalence

1. A child is brought to my home. He is clinging to his parent, and his wails precede him into the house. Parent and I exchange needful information over the uproar, and then the parent leaves, clearly in distress.

It’s hard. It’s hard to leave your child when he is crying and needs you.

2. One of my tots is dropped off. “Bye!” she crows, cheerfully, and toddles off. Parent lingers, then leaves reluctantly, dispirited, saying something like “She doesn’t care!” (Or “Don’t miss me too much”, or, speaking for their child, “Yeah, yeah, mom/dad, you can leave now.”)

It’s hard. It’s hard to leave your child and have them so obviously not need you.

I feel for my parents. It is hard. But of course, your child always needs you, happy or sad. Your child needs you whether you’re present or not. Your child needs you in his/her life, needs your love, needs your nurturing, your guidance, your unrivalled concern. However, your child does not need your physical presence every second of the day.

It is good for the child to have a circle of adults who love him/her, a circle of people s/he can trust. So, if your child cries when you leave, that’s okay. They love you. Just trust them enough to believe that they will cope just fine. And they will – it generally takes about 36 seconds after your departure for those tears to dry and the child to begin to play. And if your child doesn’t cry, that’s okay, too. They’re happy and secure in the place you’ve chosen for them. Good job!

So, don’t worry, mommy and daddy: Your baby will do just fine, and so will you!

May 16, 2005 Posted by | daycare, parenting, parents | 4 Comments

Sharing?

Zach holds out his bread and butter to Alice. Alice reaches for it. Awww, he’s sharing!

Seems straightforward doesn’t it? Maybe, maybe not. I’ve seen this too many times not to offer Zach the observation: “Do you want Alice to eat that bread? Because it you hold it out to her like that, she will eat it.” All this said in a positive, cheery tone of voice. Sharing is good, and I’m all for it. Perhaps he does want to share it with her.

Or perhaps not. Zach looks up at me, looks at the bread, and then at Alice, quickly withdraws his hand and stuffs the slice into his mouth.

It’s the not-quite-twos who do this most frequently. I suspect they are simply happy to have whatever it is, and only want to show it off a bit. “Look what I’ve got!” So they show it, and then are absolutely horrified to see their treat vanish into the voracious maw of their friend. Hey!!!

The adult equivalent would be to bring your neighbour in to see the new painting you bought and hung over the fireplace, and have them take it off the wall and walk out the door. What the hell??

May 16, 2005 Posted by | Developmental stuff, manners, quirks and quirkiness, socializing | Leave a comment