Fifty-Two | Twenty-Nine

52:29 | Motherhood is: knowing your child |

This title can sound somewhat obvious; obviously you know your child–they are yours and you raised them! 

What I am getting at here is trying to figure out what sort of personality your child has. What traits, what dislikes and likes, who they really are. This past week I have been figuring out a lot about Sophie. Some things I already knew, or had been exposed to when she was a baby, but it seems that her personality is really shining through & I’m having to learn how to handle it.
Feeling like I was doing the right thing (exposure, entertainment, etc), I signed Sophie up for Music class at our local community centre. We’ve done a similar music class before (many months ago), and it was somewhat successful in that she seemed to enjoy herself 50% of the time. I figured it was dependant on her mood, or her previous nights sleep, etc. and summed it up as a fairly enjoyable activity.
Yesterday was day one of our fall program and, well, it did not go as planned. In fact, we didn’t even make it in the door. The moment Sophie realized I wanted her to go in to a room with music, an exuberant teacher & children banging instruments her immediate response was “no. go. Mommy, go. go! go! GO!”. I tried coaxing and thought about forcing her, but decided against it and watched through the door for a moment and then went home. She was distraught.

The same thing happened a month ago at gymnastics, and it’s clear — Sophie doesn’t like classes right now. She doesn’t like loud music, and she doesn’t like groups cheering or singing, (“Happy Birthday” was cut short this year). She doesn’t like clapping (unless it’s on her terms) and she doesn’t want to participate in large, group events (we recently went to a local Children’s Festival, where “Bob’s and Lolo” were performing. Sophie wasn’t really a fan.).

At first I was worried. Shouldn’t my child want to take part in fun, interactive classes? Most of the other children there seemed to be having a great time! Why is she so sensitive & why so easily upset over things that are supposed to be fun?

Because it’s who she is.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading (as well as talking to people who have done this parenting thing before, like my mom, etc) & I now realize it’s OK to be this way. Sure, a lot of kids love music class, puppets, concerts, and such, but some don’t. We don’t need to force her, and we don’t need to worry. When the time is right, we can try again, or maybe, the time won’t be right. Maybe it’s just not her thing. I do know that she has a vast vocabulary. She’s very well-behaved, and she listens to direction well. She loves animals, playing with her toy kitchen, and helping out around the house. She loves nature, walks in the forest, and spending time at the beach. She has friends she is very gentle and generous with and is completely smitten with the six girls that live next door & across the street. Being sensitive isn’t going to hurt her in the long run, and we really just need to focus on who she is and what she needs, now.

“The idea is to look at your toddler, love her for who she is, and tailor your own ideas and behaviour to do what is best for her … if you know your child’s temperament, her strengths, her weaknesses, you’ll be better able to determine not only what’s right for her, but what she enjoys. You’ll be able to guide her, provide and environment suited to her, and give her the strategies she needs to cope with the ever more challenging demands of childhood.”
– Tracy Hogg, of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers