Leighton attends day care one day each week - actually, she goes to work. The place is called Kids' Work - Where kids go to work. Mommy works. Daddy works and so does Leighton. Lue doesn't have an occupation per se but she does hold the honorable and taxing position of team morale manager. It's a tough job and Lue agreed to take it on.
Leighton has a nanny or grandma and grandpa for the other days, but we reasoned that exposing our daughter (and at this moment, only child) to other kids, before she gets too set in her little ways, would be a great idea.
It truly is a great idea. At least it is now that we've had our seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccinations.
From the first day, little Lei burst through Kids' Work the doors, saw a room full of toys we don't have at home and got busy. She didn't even look back at me as I stocked her cabinet shelf (designated by the label-maker sticker that said "Leighton") and eventually left. When she realized that there were several other teeny people just like her, she appeared simultaneously amazed, comforted and excited. I must say that seeing this as a parent is exhilarating.
When you expose your peanut to the world outside your home, you open the door to germs, sassy behaviors and a retooling of the daily schedule. I occasionally pretend that I ascribe to a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants brand of spontaneity, but admittedly, I do enjoy a baby on a schedule.
Let's save the germ generosity and schedule dismantling discussion for another day. I'd like to examine the whole sassy behaviors thing.
I get the full scoop each time I pick Lei up from work. Feedings, poopy diapers, naps, what she worked on pointing, waving, walking. Since we only go once each week, and she changes so much every day, the report usually includes a nice little nugget I wasn't quite expecting. For example, a few weeks ago, I learned that Leighton loves to kiss other kids on the top of the head. How cute.
Unfortunately, this week, the kissing on the head routine has turned to a more vicious demonstration of love - the kind that includes hair pulling and copious amounts of drool - that ultimately results in the other kid screaming, crying and desperately trying to free himself from Lei's mighty grip. Oops.
When the teacher told me last week that Lei "needs to practice being gentle" and explained the course of the day's events to me, I wondered what the point was. The term gentle means nothing to a seven month-old. Just ask Luella and her bald spot. I felt like letting the teacher know that we would stop tackling each other by the head and planting big, wet, open-mouthed kisses on each other at home. We can certainly find a more conventional ways of displaying affection.
The truth is, the teacher is great and said that Leighton loves the other kids - she just loves them a little too hard. Bottom line: Love is a good thing. Still, we never underestimate Leighton's ability to comprehend. Needless to say, we are working on being gentle this week.
At what age did the words "gentle" or "nice-nice" finally click for your kiddo? Please post to comments and share your fuss with us.