Does not play well with others
Katherine and I went to playgroup yesterday. Normally we do stuff around the house for the morning, since I snatch work time in and around keeping her happy and mornings are generally productive times for me. Yesterday, however, felt like it should have been Friday, or at least Thursday, so I was looking for some way of eating up the morning and knocking K out so that she’d have a long nap.
I’d heard about the playgroup out here last year, but the location was a 45-minute walk from our house and there are no sidewalks. Not a problem in autumn, but in winter it’s actually truly dangerous, especially with a kid in tow along a major transportation artery. They moved the playgroup location to within a 5-minute walk this fall, which removed the danger quotient.
Now I actually don’t find that I like being a part of a group of people who get together just because they all have kids of approximately the same age. I do have friends with young kids and some of them are within a three-year reach of Katherine, but that’s not why we’re friends. I really don’t feel the need to compare her to other kids or to talk endlessly with complete strangers about potty training. But some people do and I’m glad there are places for them to go. No, the reason I went to playgroup was the guilt quotient.
You see, one of the things that’s important about training dogs is to socialise them. A lot of dog training logic holds true for kids (bring on the flames – but it’s true!); mean what you say, say what you mean, understand that what you say will be taken literally, control your temper, sublimate your frustration, make punishments appropriate and immediate, etc. So my conscience is telling me to socialise Katherine.
She went through a spell over the last eight months or so of not wanting to be around people that she didn’t see almost daily. It was infuriating, mainly because people kept looking at me with eyes that said, “You really should do something about this, you know. It’s not socially acceptable for her to cling to her parents. Strangers should be able to chuck the chin of a cute child if they feel like it.” What I wanted to say was, “Try chucking mine and we’ll see how that goes down.” I hate it when people infringe on my personal space without being welcomed and I really can’t see how I could expect Katherine to react any differently. Besides, I’m actually pretty happy that she doesn’t have the daycare tendancy of going happily to whatever adult wants to pick her up. Makes her less grab-able. So she was basically happy, but clinging somewhat to what she knew. I wrote it off as a phase and it seems that I was right.
Lately she’s been enjoying playing with other kids, so I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of this and get her into a group from time to time. So we went to playgroup.
The group in question is the Brighter Futures group and I’ve been to another of their playgroups a year or two ago. They do a good job on setting things up, but the flavour of the group is largely determined by the people that attend. I’m pretty sure that I don’t fit in well with the one here. Katherine was fine, but I’m not a toenail-painting kind of person and I frankly have better adjectives to apply to my daughter than precious, sweet and lovely.
I’m sure the theory that I could alter the state of the group by belonging holds water, but I’m not sure I care that much to put in the effort. I’m glad the group is there for those who need it and I may drop in from time to time, especially during the winter when we need to get out of the house, but I would go nuts on a steady diet.
Katherine had a great time, though, and talked all about how she went to school (the group meets in the elementary school). Two and a half and she’s school-minded already. Must check out the Calvert School’s preschooler programme again.