Baby trainOur baby has no baby friends.  Is that a problem?  Should we be booking her out for play-dates?  What exactly is baby going to do on hypothetical play-date?  I’ve seen her in action and she doesn’t know how to play with other babies.  At this age, the most you can achieve is parallel play.  And then there’s the other thing, the pink elephant in the room, you know, the really grabby one….  When she gets close to other babies, in the baby pile that is Gymboree, she ends up yanking toys out of their hands, and vice versa.  No need for alarm.  This appears to be common practice among one-year-olds.  I hear all the mommies implore/command their babies, “Share your toys!”  Like it’s so easy….  

Let’s consider the adult version for a second.  Would you like it if a stranger came up to you and asked to borrow your car, or wanted to play in your house?   To a baby, those plastic pretend car keys might feel as important as the keys to your precious S.U.V.  

We all get possessive.  Once you’re old enough to start liking certain objects, the fact is you don’t like them taken away.  And babies are too young to know their stuff really belongs to them, that they can get it back any time they want, which is the main reason most people ever share in the first place!  Of course, sharing should be encouraged with family and friends.  But teaching babies to share with baby strangers might not be the best lesson on making friends and influencing babies.

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Comments (1) »

  1. Gib Wallis says:

    Dear 2nd Mommy,

    I think there’s merit in play dates for a couple of things.

    First, kids grabbing each other’s toys will happen no matter how old they are. People take stuff. So becoming more relaxed about material things can prevent heart attacks later, and also introduce a spiritual theme — really, all material crap is on loan.

    Second, playing with (or near) other kids has the benefit of getting the kids used to spontaneous experiences. There’s a world out there that’s beyond our control (and beyond our parent’s control).

    Third, play dates are an opportunity to interview parents. At toddler ages, the parent-to-parent bonding is just as important. It’s good to know if the other baby’s mom has a pitcher of martinis and passes out when the kids are playing near the stairs.

    Fourth, there is no fourth item, but quaternities are the under dog in itemized lists and I’m doing some affirmative action.

    Loved this post, made me think… and made me wonder if I really would like to be anything other than an avuncular figure for the chill’uns.

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