Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yes, I really did use the word "mediate" in reference to babies playing together

First of all, I want to say that I LOVE playgroup. I love getting Keeley together with other babies close(r) to her age and being able to be there with her. I know she gets some socialization when she stays in childcare at the YMCA, but during playgroup I get to be there and watch her play. I really like the other moms in the group, too. (Which is probably the most important part of a playgroup at this age since the kids don't seem to care.) We all seem to have similar views on things and no one is competitive or judgemental. I love it. I look forward to it.

That being said, playgroup is exhausting. I am just so tired every time I come home. Keeley is usually all over the place. And, since Keeley is the only one walking (all the other babies are younger), most of the moms don't have gates and such up yet. (And I don't blame them. I wouldn't either.) So I just follow Keeley around and close all the doors in the house and try to stop her from tipping over the glass flowers or pressing the buttons on all of the electronics, or eating all of the remote controls, or slamming the baby swing into the wall, or throwing ceramic coasters, or... Well, you know.

Oh, and throwing things? That's a whole other issue. She's started to throw things which, of course, was very cute and exciting until you're around 5 other babies who now seem to be targets. She's obviously not trying to hit anyone, but it happens nonetheless. Keeley's lesson for next week: Do Not Throw Things In The House. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Then there's baby group dynamics. As I said earlier, Keeley is the oldest baby there. So, of course, she takes everyone's toys. I usually step in and either give it back myself and give Keeley something else to play with or tell Keeley to give it back to the baby she stole it from. The latter method involves at least 5 minutes of, "Keeley, give the toy back to Taylor. Give the toy to Taylor" [Keeley puts toy next to Taylor and takes toy back.] "Keeley, give to toy to Taylor. Give the toy to Taylor." You get the picture. And I'm still not exactly sure what I'm supposed to do in that situation. Do I just let the kids play and not worry with it? Do I step in and try to mediate? (Did I really just say "mediate" in reference to babies playing? Surely, I'm losing my mind.) Anyway, what am I supposed to do? I feel like my kid is the oldest one there and usually the one taking things, so I am required to deal with the situation. Plus, I'm still not sure what the other moms expect either. Obviously, I want Keeley to grow up with good social skills, but where is the line between letting them play and stepping in too often?


Just today Keeley hit a baby in the back of the head with a maraca, threw a sorting cup that hit someone, smashed a teething toy in a baby's face, and came very close to hitting the youngest one there with something else she threw. I know these are kids and these things are just going to happen, but what's my role in the whole thing? I need some help here - I don't want to get kicked out of playgroup! Like I said, I LOVE playgroup.

(And if any of the playgroup moms happen to be reading this, please know this is NOT a complaint about anything you've done or said. I'm just wondering what I'M supposed to do. I think you're all great!)


L said...

As you know, I only raised one young'un, but I always have an opinion on raising other people's kids! I vote that you say, "Keeley, that's not nice." Don't say it in a harsh way, because we all know that she is perfect. But that way the other mothers will know that you care that their baby just got hit with a flying missle.
Now, if other play group mothers are reading this, I really meant to say, "Don't you know that Keeley shouldn't be hurting those other precious angels? Beat the hell out of her!"

Kristen and Peter Janke said...

Well, my daughter only crawls and I leave playgroup exhausted. . . so I can only imagine! I do appreciate Keeley coming over and helping me realize what else I need to baby proof. It was extremely helpful actually (no fun for her mommy but helped me out!). As for all the other stuff. . they all steal toys and I don't know the best solution. I'm all for kids working things out themselves. . but us modeling, too. How you find the balance, I have no clue.
So your child throws things and mine likes to hit (I mean, pat) the others on their head (not so) gently. Isn't this fun?!?!