We’re never truly happy as parents are we? Each stage of our child’s development is met with joy but also trepidation and worry. I’m always saying in equal measure how “this age is my favourite age” but also “when will she eat/do/stop doing/try that”. Oh and “when will she listen” which is a personal favourite…..We can’t help but focus on the negative things can we? Sure, there’s been loads of instances where we’ve been bursting with pride but all too often there’s the constant nag of concern.
One of my main concerns/delights recently with my daughter is the transition from a very shy little girl to a very ,some may so over, friendly little girl (big girl, Daddy!!!).
Up until around 3 and a half years old, iBear was very shy and nervy around people in various situations. In her first year at nursery they had a golden rule that if any workmen had to attend during the days she was there they had to take off their high viz vests as they would set her off into a scared crying fit. We’ve no idea where this came from and thankfully nursery coped with it very well. There’s also been times when we’ve attended nursery birthday parties where all the kids would be chasing each other around but she just wanted me to play with her and when I refused she’d just sit with me and watch the others instead. I was a shy bairn when I was younger and so I’d chalked it down to a gene thing but nevertheless I let the nursery know my concerns on a couple of parents evenings but they insisted she was integrating well with the group but they would keep an eye on her.
All this shyness, however, didn’t stop her from running off anywhere at the first sign of freedom when we’ve been out and about. I remember one time in a big open park we decided to let her run off to see when she would stop and look back to see if we were there. She kept going and going and when she eventually stopped and looked back (we hid in plain sight in that we could see her but knew she couldn’t see us). She may as well have given a shrug and said a big “Meh”. She wasn’t bothered at all. I on the other hand could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money after panic set in as my brain caught up with how much distance was currently between us.
Over the last year we’ve noticed a big change in the shyness part of her personality. She’s always been a friendly happy child giving random strangers course for mumbling all kinds of cutesy noises back at her and is very tactile in nature. It’s cranked up big style now though. Let me give you some examples:
- Out for the day with her Nana in the park and following a friendly play with a locals dog she proceeds to run after said dog owner. When Nana finally gets her to stop she explains she wanted to give the man a cuddle for allowing her to pet the dog.
- She now thinks the window cleaner is her best friend after he takes the time to chat to her and lets her hand over the money he’s owed. She’s tried a few times to run after him for a cuddle.
- After a recent trip to a local Italian restaurant iBear insisted on sitting on a stool at the bar chatting to the nice lady (who recognised her from previous visits) about her job of serving drinks.
- Now she’s started school she talks to every parent and child she passes on the way:
- “I’m going to school”
- “Look at my umbrella/book bag/shoes/cuddly toy I’m taking in”
- “What’s your name” “Are you going to my school” etc etc etc
Thankfully in each and every one of these instances the people involved have been child friendly but there has been times when she’s been blanked and the look of confusion (and sometimes I swear she looks a little hurt, shes 4?!) is hard to take.
The concern here for me is how do you explain the whole stranger danger thing. When is the right time to do it? I love how friendly she is with people and I equally love how responsive some people can be. But, I’m pretty sure she’d be like this regardless if we were there or not and it only takes one moment for the unthinkable to happen, doesn’t it? Not that we let her out of our sight when she’s with us but the fear of her being too over friendly is there. But is that even a rational way of thinking?! My head hurts!
I’d imagine they still do the talk at school and if not, we’ll have to try and approach it our way but for now her innocence is something I want to keep on seeing, even if sometimes I cringe at how she gets so close to people she almost trips them up!
How shy/confident is your child? I’d love to hear your stories.