Monday, June 15, 2009

She's a little dear

Puns. Dontchya luv 'em.

Even though I'm blogging during a thunderstorm and some crazy hail, I have been enjoying some fabulous summer days. Each day I have to weigh up the relative merits of cycle rides, parks, swings, painting, beach and paddling pool.

Painting is very low on my list of desirable activities but extremely high on Peaches'. Despite that sunny expression of innocence on her face, her favourite colour is black with lots of water. Then she pushes and splodges grimy water across the paper until the point when she decides to paint her hand, her feet, her arm... you get the idea.

I'm not a major neat freak, but it's the surest way to finish off my patience. Perhaps I'd be able to deal with it if she used red or green. I try and join in and paint astronauts, princesses, fruit, shapes. But once she's on to the third sheet of grey misery I can't take it any more.

Before you know it, I'll have whipped out a roll of kitchen paper and will be cleaning up and singing in a cheery voice, 'it's time to ride your bike, let's go the beach way and will get to the swings'.

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one morning...
Peaches: Where's my sister?
Recaro: She's not invented yet.

walking with fabulous childminder, when out of the blue...
Peaches: My sister's not invented yet.

chatting on her toy mobile phone...
Peaches: I haven't seen you in ages. [Phoney laugh]. Yes. Yes. Bye.
Sass: Who were you talking to?
Peaches: My sister.
Sass: What's her name?
Peaches: Laura.

drinking milk before bed at the end of a very long, nap-free day...
Peaches: (looking very sad) Mummy, where's my sister?

Is she trying to tell me something? Don't answer that.

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I'm not a big believer in insisting Peaches says a bright hello to every person she meets. I think children go through shy phases and I don't see that ridicule or forcing them to say hello helps. My preferred tactic, right or wrong, is to declare that she's having a shy moment and that's she'll be fine in a moment.

And usually she is.

There are other times, when Peaches just wants to make friends. Sometimes that works really well, other times... even at the age of three there are little girls who know how to snub a friendly overture. Other times, it's just that the other child is having their own shy moment.

So now I am on a mission of seeing that Peaches gets a playdate with one of her buddies at least once every weekend. My theory (from the try-it-and-see school of parenting) is to give her plenty of chances to build good friendships from a young age based on frequency and fun.

That way, when someone is rude, thoughtless or shy, she knows they are just, well, rude, thoughtless or shy. She's also going to know that she's got a number of friends who are good fun, lively and sociable and that she's going to see them all again some time soon.

The next challenge might be to listen to her preference about who to play with... but I'll face that battle when I have to.

For SAHM this might seem like a no-brainer. As a working mum, it's been tempting to leave all that socialising, play group activity to the childminder. But I'm stepping up to the plate now. I'm taking telephone numbers off of people in the supermarket so that we can arrange playdates. This is a whole new way of living. It seems that I'm having to put my shy moment behind me too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another milestone

Fhionnport, Isle of Mull

My adventurous little girl spent her first day in pre-school nursery on Monday.

Arguably it's a little early for 'school', but there were a number of reasons for our decision:

1. She's confident and sociable. She can handle the challenge.
2. She's so happy and secure at the childminder's that it would be good to put her through the challenge of pre-school while she still has three fabulous days a week with the heavenly childminder.
3. It's easier to get a child into pre-school of choice over the summer months rather than wait till September.

She'd been sick on Sunday and was still a little bit under the weather on Monday but she went anyway. And she was fine. She made friends, played well, had a big afternoon nap and painted a picture of a gorilla (that's an orange splodge to you and me).

Because I'm a responsible, loving mother I phoned to check she was settling in okay. Everything was good. As I put the phone back on the hook, I start sobbing.

It's the overwhelming feeling of love and loss that does for me. As I prepare Peaches to face new situations, I realise I'm preparing her to go her own way. It's all as it should be. I just have to cry about it now and then.