Sunday, June 13, 2010

June2_AnnaGMa

It’s been a week since we “took possession” of our daughter again. We were all a little nervous about the first real separation from her. I have a very clear memory of a giant tantrum I threw when my parents dared to leave me with my grandparents overnight once. I think my grandpa ended up calling my mom and asking her to come and pick me up. I was really attached to my mom while growing up,  June7_Pool and I know very well that Anna is very attached to me. Still, she “switched” to my parents easily and enjoyed her stay a lot. For fairness sake, they kept her very busy and entertained. She didn’t even have time to open all the toys and learning supplies that my mom prepared for her arrival, but they met a lot of new people, visited new playgrounds, and Anna spent many happy afternoons splashing in the small pool they set up on the deck.

June2_AnnaGPa

When we came back, I noticed immediately the “jump” in her language and behavior. Not only she learned a few Russian words, but her reasoning became even more involved. It’s amazing to see this little goofball giggling and fidgeting one minute and then coming up with very interesting abstract observations that combine her prior and new knowledge next minute. I think that this stay in a different place (and even, to a degree, in a different culture) benefited her a lot. And it made me think how important “different hands” and “different heads” are to a child’s growth. Yes, we, the parents, know our children best and we certainly want the best for them. But when the children make an effort of separating from a parent and accommodating another teacher, their minds stretch in a way we cannot stretch them. They are so comfortable at home with us, with their favorite toys, with their siblings, with their neighborhood friends. But I believe in the need of nudging them out of their nest and letting them experience new levels of independence, and I hope that daughter is blessed with many adults that will teach her and love her to the best of their abilities.

17 comments:

Ticia said...

Okay, her grin in that picture in the pool is so cute.

And I couldn't agree more, it is so important for your kids to be able to go elsewhere and be with other parents.

Discovering Montessori said...

I so love this post! When DJ went to school this year he cried and cried. It was a tough decision to make everyday to send him to school. Once he opened up his teachers recognized how advanced he was and promoted him to first grade. Now he finally likes school and loves getting recognition from other people. I still would like to homeschool him, but now in DJ's case I would feel selfish to not share him. Thanks for sharing!! Good for you and your husband to be able to have some alone time,and know that Anna is still having fun and learning.

Debbie said...

These pictures are worth a thousand words, in describing her stay with her grandparents.

I agree with you, kids need to learn that separation is ok, it doesn't mean it is forever, and they need to experience learning from others.

Adriana said...

I am so happy for Ana and your parents to have that special time together. I hope that in the future my in-laws will keep the boys for a while every summer so that they can get to know each other better.

While homeschooling is attractive to me because of our language issues, I agree that having other positive adult influences in our children's lives is so important. Diego's teacher this year was from Puerto Rico and I was amazed at the different accents and vocabulary that he experimented with (very different than the Mexican Spanish that we speak) just by spending time with her. That is something that I just can't provide for him.

Joyful Learner said...

I noticed the same things whenever we came back from a trip or stayed more than few days with friends! But I attributed that to exposure to new experiences and new people, not necessarily separation with me as I was always there. Funny thing I noticed is also how our daughter is quick to adapt to the speech patterns around her. She literally start sounding like one of her friends who is 2 years older! It made me think about who I wanted to exposure to and how important it was to be around good friends. It's interesting how we make the same observations with different conclusions in the end! Welcome back!

Christy said...

Great post. I'm glad Anna's visit went well. It definitely helps when your child isn't upset about being left with relatives.

Mom and Kiddo said...

I always notice that Kiddo is a different kind of person with other grown-ups. Esp. with his teachers. They always tell me he is so sweet. To which I think, "what?"

Mom and Kiddo said...

I always notice that Kiddo is a different kind of person with other grown-ups. Esp. with his teachers. They always tell me he is so sweet. To which I think, "what?"

Debbie said...

I liked Joyful Learner's response to this. As I said in my earlier comment I agree children benefit from other adult teachers in their lives. On the other hand I believe these need to be selected as positive enfluences on our children. I can think of two examples of my point. One, I would never have left my children for very long with my own mother, did that mean I didn't love her, no not at all, I didn't like her parenting style. Then recently I left Selena with a good friend, who sees things much different then I do, and next thing I knew Selena was saying things that I didn't approve of, and for that fact that she had no idea what she was saying. I feel we as parents do have the responsibility to see that the other teachers in our children's lives will be a positive enfluence on our child. Your parents definately were all of that for Anna!

Aging Mommy said...

I love this post Natalie, beautifully written and thought provoking. All our daughter's extended family live in England so she rarely gets to see them and being so young still we cannot leave her with them when they visit as she is not familiar enough with them. But you are right, there is enormous value in different hands and different experiences and I am glad Anna got the opportunity to spend time discovering that.

My Dad arrives Tuesday for a week, so I am looking forward to spending time with him and seeing Mirabelle blossom in his company as she always does when we have visitors.

Pathfinder Mom said...

It looks like Anna had a wonderful time.

I really do enjoy it with Tornado Boy comes home from a visit signing a song that I didn't teach him or something like that. It's interesting to see what they pick up from others.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I've been thinking about this post all day, today. It was interesting.
I've never thought of leaving the kids with my mother, as leaving them in different hands. Being with my mother, is so much like being with me.

I do think experiences away from home can be good for children. I'm just torn as to how much, and for which children. Some of mine are extroverts, and some are introverts. I want the extroverts to have the stimulation they need, while still providing the place of comfort for the introverts to feel free to be themselves. I'm an introvert, and I lived away from home, in a dorm, for part of my high school - instead of expanding my potential, it made me draw in more.

I have a ton more to say - but this is a comment not a post! Thanks for provoking so much thought, though :)

burtong said...

當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。...............................................................

The girl who painted trees said...

I agree with you that children need to be away from their parents and learn from other positive adult influences; however, I don't think this exclusively means they need to go to school to get that experience. Bear won't go to preschool, but she will be going to ballet, gymnastics, and swimming in the Fall and will have plenty of opportunity to interact with teachers at these activities.

Anne@LittleSproutBooks said...

So glad the visit was so positive for Anna! I agree that we see so much of the environment reflected back by our children, and as other readers have mentioned, it demonstrates the need for careful planning of influences.

vanessa @ silly eagle books said...

Glad she had a good time with her grandparents! I agree with you completely about the need for "other hands." I love how you phrased it.

Eva said...

Great post! I totally agree about children being surrounded by other adults. It's great that Anna enjoyed her stay :)