When we made the decision to start a family, it never occurred to me that we might only have one child. In every day dream that I ever had there were always two children. I saw my husband carrying a little girl on his shoulders while I held a little boy’s hand. Of course they were perfect well behaved children & we were all full of smiles walking together hand in hand. After our daughter was born, I woke up from that dream. After what seemed like endless sleepless nights & a colicky infant that cried constantly, we started to rethink baby #2.
Things eventually began to get easier, the cries slowed down, our baby began to sleep through the night & I began talking to my husband about baby #2. His mind had not changed. We went back and forth with it, named off the pros and cons and even asked for opinions here on my blog. It was a hard sell, but after a lot of convincing the day finally came and we began to try to get pregnant. We were not successful. With my advanced age and some medical issues, it seemed that my dreams for a second baby came to an end.
Even though my husband & I were perfectly happy with being parents to our one sweet little girl, there were some concerns about her being an only child. I worried about how it would affect her socially. Would she be spoiled from always being the center of attention? Would she learn how to share? These were definitely valid concerns as I already noticed that Mai had problems in dealing with organized events & classes she was in involving other children.
We recently started her in daycare a couple times a week. Even though it still pains me to send her off to day care, I know that it will be beneficial to her. Being an only child there is much that she can learn from this environment.
1. Sharing: Our daughter came home from daycare the other day and said to me “Mama the kids took my toys.” This made me sad for a moment and then as horrible as this sounds, it made me smile. While the kids were not actually taking the toys out of her hands, she still thought they were taking them from her because in her mind all of the toys are hers. Other than the occasional play date, she has seldom had to share. She has free reign over a houseful of toys daily.
2. Patience: At home when our daughter wants something she is attended to right way or at least pretty quickly. She is not accustomed to waiting. With several other children to attend to, her daycare provider is not always at her instant beck & call. At daycare she is not the center of the universe. She needs to wait until it is her turn.
3. Learned behaviors: This can be a good thing and a bad thing as she may also pick up bad behavior, but socializing with other child especially of an older age can be a great learning tool. For instance, my daughter has a difficult time sitting still in her seat & eating, but at daycare we get a report back each day that she sat & ate almost everything on her plate at each meal & snack. I was amazed. Our provider explained that at first she was resistant pushing her plate away as she often does at home, but when the other children continued to eat & talk, she joined in. Hopefully she can take some potty training cues.
4. Basic socialization: We talk with our child all the time, but it is not quite the same as interacting with her peers. After 2 1/2 years of mostly talking to mommy, daddy & nanna, she is now able to chat with children her own age. Today she told me all about her new friend Colton & how he really likes bears, but is still afraid of them too. Oh, the conversations they must have.
5. Dealing With Conflict: All of my friends that have multiple children have kids that fight like cats & dogs. They love each other. They hate each other. They beat up on each other. Having only our daughter I feel that we shield her from far too much sometimes. After daycare the other day, our daughter told us, “Colton hurt me.” What happened? “Colton pushed me.” I checked with the provider to make sure that it was nothing serious. She assured me that nothing concerning happened, but then I learned that they also got into a verbal argument over a picture in a book. One was certain that the picture was of a boy, the other thought it was a girl. Neither backed down. Debates, conflict, differences of opinion are a part of life & something that should be introduced early. The longer you shield your children from these things the harder it will be for them to deal with at a later age.
I am enjoying listening to all of Mai’s new experiences. She is loving her days with her new friends & is learning a lot along the way.