I've mentioned on this blog many, many times that Gwen is a super-social girl. I really love that about her, actually. I know there will be stages of separation anxiety and playing shy, but I have a feeling that her true personality is outgoing, friendly, and interested in new things.
Last week was our first time going to the "big kids" group at the drop-in, the group for 6-12 month olds. I had heard that it was a completely different environment, and wow, it really is. There are crawlers and cruisers and all kinds of action going on. Kids successfully (or not) sharing toys and books. Parents mediating all their kids' interactions. A far cry from the 0-6 month group, where the babies lie on the floor mats and only infrequently notice that there are other babies around them.
In the morning group, there were only about 8 moms there, and Gwen was the youngest by a good 4-5 months. Which means all the other kids were all over the place. And often, their exploration of the room led them close to Gwen, who was still just lying on the mat, occasionally rolling over, watching the big kids with great interest.
Every time a child crawled close to Gwen, his or her mom would insert herself into their path, arm blocking my immobile baby, and redirect the child elsewhere. I was kind of disappointed. Part of the reason I go to groups like this is to allow Gwen that opportunity to socialize, and this won't happen if the other kids aren't allowed near her. I do understand that kids this age (10-12 months) are not totally reliable with their interpretations of the words "gentle" and "careful", and I know that Gwen will get her hair pulled or her arm squished through these interactions, and despite what I wrote the other day about my desire to protect her, I am okay with that. But I'd rather have the kid come on over, touch Gwen and interact with her, and let them both get something out of the experience. Obviously I am not going to let a bigger child kick Gwen in the face, or anything, but for Pete's sake, let the kids play! Removing one or the other of them from the situation altogether is not going to teach either of them anything about social interactions.
What do you all think? Moms - how much do you mediate in your kids' social interactions? What do you wish other moms did or didn't do while interacting with you and your kid?
I would probably intervene, until I knew the Mom of the younger kid was ok with the interaction, then I'd just be keeping a watchful eye on my kid. You know, to make sure he didn't stomp or her head or something. To me it is more a dance of gauging the Mom than the kids. A lot of new Moms are very nervous about their kids.
It's awesome to see them interact. Callum can make Claire squeal like no one else, and he is most certainly NOT gentle, but she loves it!
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