Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tea for two

Yesterday, our friend and day care "provider", Kelly, had her air conditioning go out. Actually, I think it went over the weekend but yesterday it was 93 in good old Indiana. It was hot. So Kelly some how managed to keep four children under the age of 3 entertained until she could no longer handle the heat (I would have melted long before she did so YOU ROCK!) Then took the kids to the air at her neighbor's house. That neighbor being a piece of cake. Later, we picked Matthew up and went home as usual.

At dinner, we asked Matthew what he did during his day and he said "We went to Kate's house..."
"Wow", we said. "Well what did you do there?"
Matthew said with a thrilled and excited look on his face "we had a tea party! AND we had ice cream!." *pure rapture on his face.
"Wow", that is so cool", we said.

Later, I talked with Kelly and I told her about this conversation. Kelly said that Matthew was very excited about the tea set and got right into it. Also, that the above mentioned ice cream was from a play set of plastic ice cream that the kids all shared! As we talked about this I remembered that at Matthew's old day care, the kids who came early had tea parties in the morning. With real (herbal) tea, honey and milk! Matthew LOVED this activity more than anything!

One the of major reasons I relate this entire story to all of you few poor souls who read this blog... we have been trying to figure out how to get Matthew more comfortable with this day care transition situation. There is no doubt that Matthew loves his parents - he does not want us to leave in the morning. BUT he also LOVES him some Kelly's house as well because at the end of the day he does not want to leave there either. PLUS he misses his old daycare.

Case in point, we went to Kid Kazooey this past weekend. I realized most of you were probably all 'what the hell is a Kid Kazooey?' Kid Kazooey played music once a week at Matthew's old day care and Matthew was apparently quite taken by the Kid. Matthew told me after seeing Kid Kazooey that he loves him! Which is great, right?! Well, wrong (sort of), Matthew was terribly confused about things by Sunday. It dawned on me that I never really talked with Matthew before or after seeing Kid Kazooey about how he might feel about seeing this huge personality from his old day care. About seeing kids from his old day care and how that would make him feel. About a day care situation that really did offer Matthew some wonderful experiences that he obviously not forgotten...

Basically, we do a lot of talking with and to Matthew but hardly ever really get to talking about feelings and experiences that might affect Matthew. For instance, this morning we talked with Matthew about Kelly' house and how we had to go to work but we would be there after work to pick him just like yesterday. That he loves Kelly and Grayson and how it would be all right. Matthew immediately started a pretend cry and even tried the usual morning grab Daddy and don't let go routine but this time without the tears. At this point, we reminded Matthew what we talked about in the car on the ride over. We also engaged him by talking about perhaps having a tea party at Kelly's like the one they had yesterday at Kate's house. He gave us a kiss, jumped down and smiled as we left.

It all seems so simple, right? And it is. It is just that something I think we forget that these little people are just that - people with feelings, memories and emotions. That my BABY is no longer a tiny baby cooing and grasping and clinging to me for every thing... but a thinking, learning little being who can tell me what he is feeling and experiencing every day but he must be given the opportunity to do this. often. without me talking at him and being open to his life experiences... because thankfully he can tell me all of this - if I just stop, and listen.

Parenting is such humbling experience!


Tessie said...

This is so interesting. I always forget to talk to AD too. I'll be sitting in the car on the way home from daycare, just daydreaming or listening to the radio, and then I look back and she is just STARING at me. Then I'm all, oh yeah, oops. Forgot that you PAY ATTENTION now.

Kate's mom said...

I totally agree with you about forgetting to talk "with" our kids rather than just "to" and "at" them! It is something I need to work on more! It amazes me how much K picks up on my own feelings (expressed or not) and hesitations with certain situations...particularly ones that involve change. Given my current overly emotional state, she often says "Mommy's crying" even when I am not, but am about to. (Sad, but reality when you are 9 mos pg) ha ha ha ha!

K also loves going to Kelly's house, but had to adjust to the difference between "playing at Grayson's house" (an activity we did regularly together) and "going to Kelly's for school".

What I found to be the most helpful for her, was for me to meet Kelly at the door and then promptly leave. It sucks for ME ME ME (who would rather come in, chat, hear about her day, get comfy, etc) but REALLY helps Kate make a clear transition b/t time with me and time at Kelly's. If I go inside when I drop her off or pick her up, Kate gets very excited and wants to show me all the toys, seems to get confused as to who to listen to (Mommy or Kelly?), and engages in all kinds of attention seeking behaviors (mostly defiance...oh yay.) So, we drop her at the door, say goodbye when Kelly opens it, and leave. And the same for pick up....Kate meets me at the door with shoes on, papers in hand, and knows that "Mommy is here and it is time to go." (Kelly prepares her for my impending arrival by doing clean up, putting shoes on, looking out the window, etc.) Then I touch base with Kelly later regarding how/what Kate did that day/week to meet MY needs. :)

Anyway, that worked for us in helping Kate deal with the transition. Once I took myself/ourselves out of the equation, she did much better...in fact, much better than I expected! I used to feel badly about that, but I think it gives Kate her "own stories" to tell that are separate from us and cuts down on her confusion. I hope that is helpful! I know it is soooo hard to know how to help our little ones with changes, while trying not to get sucked into attention seeking behaviors too! Who knew parenting was going to be so dang hard?

Kate's mom said...

Oh! And Matthew was VERY cute having a tea party at our house! He was "pouring" tea for everyone, including the baby dolls! Very sweet.