Every Friday I feel like a rubbish Mum. When I think I might have this “mum-thing” down at different points in the week, Friday’s just bring me crashing back down with a bump…
We have a toddler group on a Friday. It’s one of those where you pay in advance for a block of classes, and they have a different theme/activity each week. We used to go when F was smaller, but then stopped going once he started to walk and wanted to basically just run around and enjoy his new found freedom.
Now that he’s a bit older, I decided to try and integrate him into a class again. He will eventually go to pre-school next Autumn, and doesn’t spend that much time with large groups of children. The first week was OK… he seemed fascinated by the soft play, and wanted to play with the beach balls. No chance getting him interacting with other children; even less chance of getting him on the bouncy castle!!
Then it came to all sitting in a circle and singing songs/playing games. One of the aims of the group is to encourage independence; getting things on their own, and putting things away when asked. When it came to everyone being asked to get some sticks from the bucket in the middle of the circle, the other children jump up and head to the bucket; eyes full of curiosity and wonder at what they might find. They pick up the sticks, and bring them back. F doesn’t. He sat with me, and wouldn’t budge. I had to guide him over, show him the bucket, and still he wouldn’t reach in. I hurriedly pick up the sticks myself so as not to hold up the rest of the class and we head back to our spot.
The singing starts, and other children clap and bang their sticks together. Nothing from F. Just a fascination on his face, and sitting on my lap, cuddled in close. Whenever I try to move him, to help him put the sticks back, or start a new activity, he’s just not interested. The frowny face appears, and the whining starts.
I thought he might just need a few sessions to get used to it
But now it’s every Friday. Every Friday, I sit there, and try and encourage him to climb, run, jump and get involved. And nothing. I watch as children much younger than him – 5/6 months or so – are doing all these things with aplomb, and a massive smile on their faces as they go. The sense of achievement when they’ve been asked to get some shakers out of a bucket, take them to their Mum/Dad and sit back down; the look of pride on their parents faces.
And I sit there…. trying desperately to move my toddler and encourage him to head over to the bucket, and get the shakers. All he wants to do is sit on my lap and cuddle. And I shouldn’t complain; there were months and months when he wouldn’t really come anywhere near me for cuddles or help with anything, and was fiercely independent. Now he wants cuddles and to sit with me.
I get the usual comments of “Oh, he’s so shy!” or “Someone’s tired!”. And I smile and nod, and roll my eyes in a jokey way.
But I just don’t know what to do. I feel rubbish. I feel like I should have been taking him to these classes for months, and it’s all my fault that he’s not as developed as the other children are and doesn’t want to do that they do. If only i’d got up and out of the house, with F in tow, looking for fun classes to do rather than thinking about the cost or whether it fit in with various schedules.
He isn’t like this at home. He will gladly get things when I ask him to, and bang sticks, and shake shakers. He’ll be loud, and fun, and i’m so proud of him. It’s not that he can’t do these things. He just won’t.
Maybe he’s just like me and Mr B
We are watchers too; we like to sit back and observe people, rather than being in the centre, bold as brass. I’d rather wait my turn, or wait for someone to finish before making my point. Maybe he is just like me. But I want him to be brave. I want him to be inquisitive and adventurous. I don’t want him to sit at the back of the class like I did, not wanting to say anything. I want him to thrive. I want him to shine. But how can I do that? How can I encourage that in him?
Feel free to add any helpful comments below. 🙂