Tuesday, 28 May 2013

"Daddy, come swing me"
Is what my daughter called out to me today in the playground. As in she was on the swing and I was across the playground sitting on a bench, in between us some kids and a parent or two... Oh, and while we talk in English and she would generally ask me in English to swing her, this was done in Hebrew!

She was pretend playing to be her cousin E (who only speaks Hebrew, hence why Butterfly spoke to me in Hebrew..) as she has done many times before. She plays a lot at pretending to be either cousin E (an almost 5 yrs girl) or baby A (a 1 yrs boy), while my role is to be that child's mother. Today she was E and I was her father, a first! [though I was once or twice before a dad, but if my memory serves me right, a general dad, not a specific child's dad]

She does know that she does not have a daddy. Many times I don't know if I talk too much about it or too little or if I am doing right by what I do say. But we do talk about it, it is not a taboo [my sister, also an SMC (the baby's mother..) does not talk at all about it. She won't even have songs or stories that have a 'daddy' in them. I think it's important to talk even before they can fully understand and to not treat songs/stories as a big no-no]. So my daughter calling out loud 'daddy' was not trying to challenge me or her or the situation or anything like that. It might be her finding different ways to process not having a daddy and what it means: two kids [a brother and sister, but actually it was mainly the younger brother, a 5 yrs] later laughed, calling out to her - daddy come swing me [to which I would say: 1. it is funny when the child calls for a father and a mother comes! 2. obviously they do not know she doesn't have a dad], she was playing trying to catch the boy [she riding her bike, he running, lol] while calling to him - 'daddy and mummy'. So she was probably processing something :-) [BTW they were smiling/laughing all the time. I too found it funny when she called me daddy...]


P.S
I share my birthday with MN (today!!), which really is great :-) But as of this year, apparently I also share it with my daughter who also wants a birthday, lol! [her birthday is in three weeks time]

Friday, 24 May 2013

Socialization

Now that she is coming to the age when socialization is important (plus the fact that it is summer time and the days are hotter so parents go to the playground after they pick up their kids. This is not new-new, but still..) I try much more getting her to meet kids. Almost everyday we are at a playground, usually around three hours [Tuesday is the only day I do not take her, as it is too hot before the nanny comes (and anyway no children at that hour) and I finish working at a time that is kind of late to go..].

Once a week we go to our homeschooling group. Unfortunately for us, most of the other kids meet more during the week (almost everyday there is some kind of meeting, we can only make it to the Thursday one..), so they are much more familiar with each other, know each other, while Butterfly is a bit of an outsider. It probably didn't help that I felt kind of awkward until not so long ago. Not because they are not nice people (they are!), but I'm so not a social person. Then this new woman joined (a really lovely woman), and "suddenly" I felt more connected. And I feel this also on my daughter. And can I say how delighted I was last week when one of the calls mentioned my daughter by name? I think it means something when a child knows that child's name...

But most days we just go to a local playground and whoever is there is there. I do hope slowly as her socialization skills get better that we get to know more deeply a kid or two so she can have a local friend, but right now I just want her to learn how to be around kids. I see how she doesn't know basic games like hide and seek [she was playing with this girl who was a bit older than her. Let's play hide and seek the older girl says, I'll count. She finishes and Butterfly is out in the open. "Okay you count and I hide". No, that didn't work either, lol] or catch etc. I am not too concerned. Just like I don't push her into learning how to swing as I'm sure she will get it when the time is right for her, I am positive she will catch on to these social game when the time is right :-). But I also see how she is slowly learning. And I think, how lucky am I that I can actually see how my kid is becoming a social being, how she learns the social "rules".

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On a similar subject - about hitting back. When Butterfly comes to me telling me that someone has done this or that to her, I tell her to tell them to stop, that she doesn't like it, and if that doesn't help to come to me. I do not tell her to hit back because I think it's wrong. I am trying to be a positive non-violent family so would rather not teach my kid to react violently. And may I say that while she is not always the most gentle person, she is by no means violent! Last week I witnessed two cases (one involving my daughter, and one not) where the mothers told their kids to hit back.

The first case, not involving daughter, was at the playground. There was a girl about 2 yrs and a boy I think maybe 1.5 yrs. I don't know if and how much these kids knew each other, but the mother's were together.. Suddenly the older girl gave, more tried to give, the boy a smack on the head. The boy didn't feel it and it certainly didn't bother him, so I really don't understand his mother who tried to make him hit the girl back - she hit you, you have to hit back. I mean one thing if the girl actually hit him and he was crying etc, but she hardly touched him and he really couldn't care less! It was just sad to see this cute gentle kid who one day will sure have a hitting issue..

The other case.. I was and still am errrr about it. I was with Butterfly at a gymbory and there was just one other kid (okay it was morning..), a 2.5 boy. So the mother and I were talking and I wasn't so much paying attention to the kids, when suddenly the boy hits Butterfly on the head. While B came for a kiss in the head (meaning she most certainly felt it!) the other boy complained to his mother that B hit him. So the mother kept saying how it's okay that he hit her because he was just hitting back. He tried again (and again and again....) to hit her, so she kept saying that it's okay to hit back but that he has already done so... Eventually, when he did hit her again, she hit him back. I am not happy but also not sad. It is not how I want her to learn to interact but he really was violent to her.
But wait, I must go back. It really nagged me that my girl hit him (the incident that caused it all). Where did that come from? To be honest while I did see him hit her, I didn't see what preceded it. I was talking to the mother saying how I can't belive my daughter hit him blah blah. She goes on about how it happens, and then she shows me this mark on his wrist.  Quiet a serious mark. Could. not. have. been. my. girl. All she had on her was a dress and knickers, no sandals, no jewelry, no clips for the hair, not even fingernails! And no way could she have left such a mark on his wrist with just her bare hands. And you know, if let's say she did, wouldn't we hear the boy scream!? Because both of us mothers were sitting with the kids playing right by our side. Surly we would have heard something! a scream, a cry, a call to mummy, a call to stop etc.
I was just so annoyed that my daughter was made into a violent person she is not!

Monday, 13 May 2013

"I love you"

This morning, my daughter comes to me and says - I love you, before giving me a hug. I love you :-). She did say that when she first started to talk, but back then it was more of a parrot, not sure how much she really understood what it meant. Since then - nothing! And I tell her all the time how I love her and all, but she just wouldn't say those three words. Oh she is very affectionate and gives hugs and kisses all the time, it's only the words she doesn't say :-). But this morning she did!!

And talking about love, we had a bath together the other day at my mother's. So before the bath, when we were undressed, I looked at us in the mirror. I will just note that I don't have a mirror at my place. No real reason except I never bothered to get a new one once the mirror I had broke, and hey, I'm doing fine without looking at my fat cells! So, the bath.. and looking at us together naked..and looking at her little image and me, all I could see was how much she loves me!


If I am writing, I must write about how lately it seems like she is in this achieving mode. She is suddenly capable and able to do many things, like suddenly she knows how to use scissors (and also cut a bit of her hair off, lol), or climbing like the big kids like to do in the playground (that is, around and above the regular playground equipment..), etc. She just seems in the last week or two to have outstretched herself. She is just over a month shy of her third birthday, but she definitely is a three year old...

Sunday, 5 May 2013

play

Now that I'm an adult, I love watching kids play, mainly free play. Because as a child (and even today), I had no idea how to free play. I mean I knew things like board games, and if some kids gathered and wanted to play hide & seek or the likes, then I could do that... But just to run around and have fun? No, that wasn't so much part of my childhood (perhaps because I was not sociable and stayed a lot at home or in the class room during the break by myself). So watching kids run around in the playground, just having fun with no specific purpose, that fascinates me!

And or But I want to be playful with my daughter. So I bought a book - Playful Parenting and..... well at least I bought it! Anyway the other day I decided it was time I started reading the book, and so I have (and to be quite honest, I'm still at the beginning, but I felt I just had to share..)

The author talks about how it is important to play with your child, not just to let them play, but to actually play with them. It fosters closeness, confidence, connection. In addition, he talks about the importance of play for children, as this is how they learn and explore and make sense of their world. Also he mentions how play, even the simple casual play, has layers of meanings to it! Etc, I won't copy here all what I marked lol. He also talked about how adults should get down to the floor when playing with their kids. Sigh of relief. This is one thing I do do! I'm not good at playing blah blah I I really am terrible at this playing thing), but yes, I have no problem sitting on the floor, on the carpet, on the earth etc and playing with her!

He then went on to a point where I have just read the bullets before he elaborates on them, because it got me thinking.. Well one specific bullet. The usual scene when I go with my daughter to the play ground is - first I have to swing her for a very long time on the swings! [unschooling as I am, I will not teach her to swing alone until she is ready for it. And I do not push once or twice and leave her like I see some mums do. No, when I swing her I swing her]. Then I go to the bench for a few minutes, hoping to get some rest.. until she calls me to play with her. [writing this, I think it is a bit better at the homeschooling group where we also eat and also she does know a bit of the kids, not so much when we go in the afternoons to the local playgrounds]. And I want to sit and rest, I want to watch children, and mainly my daughter, playing, but mainly I fear that if I play with her, then she won't be playing or even socializing with other kids.
Well the bullet that got me, about a child's need for playing with the adult they are closest to, was the one mentioned how children need more play time with the grown ups "when they are having a difficult time connecting with peers or adults". As I said, I haven't yet read his elaboration, but yes I can see it now.. she was needing me while I was pushing her away.. Anyway I am learning and hopefully one day not too long, I will be a better playing parent!