Sunday, August 29, 2010



Aug24_MB1 I admit it – I am guilty of “too much too soon” mentality quite often. I had my child late in life. Before I got married for the second time, I had a career, traveled the world, tasted delicious food, saw great works of art and famous science exhibits “for real” and read books about many different things. I also earn enough and save some, so we don’t have to think twice about going on a trip or paying for a museum ticket. It’s very hard somAug24_MB2etimes to “pace myself” and remind  myself that my daughter is not even 4 yet. Fortunately, sometimes reality kicks in like it did during our “staycation”. We had a very “optimistic” schedule of going somewhere every day – driving all the way to Sacramento, then going to the lighthouse the next day, etc. We were following our plan until Tuesday when we took Anna to Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a very fine and world-Aug24_MB3known aquarium. The exhibits are extremely fascinating… for adults and older kids. Anna was not complaining, but… she was not interested in live exhibits much and couldn’t get out of darkened aquarium rooms fast enough . Instead she touched every lever and pushed every button in the “kids’ rooms”. Unfortunately, I felt that these rooms are designed to accommodate kids from 2 to 12, which meant that her understanding of what she was doing was rather low. After spending about 15 minutes on ocean-themed mini-playground my husband said in frustration that we could just as well save time and money if we took our daughter to the new playground in an area where we live. I had to agree with him, and we quickly scratched Sacramento and Lighthouse from our schedule. Instead we stayed home, played inside and outside and gave her what she needs most – attention of both parents. Of course, we will visit all those great places, but I have to have faith in the future – we have many years together and we will still experience the joy of discovery whether our daughter will be 4 or 14 when we go to some of our landmarks for the very first time.

Have you ever had the feeling that you are doing “too much too soon” with any of your kids. What did you do to “rebalance”?

For science with young kids, visit Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.

15 comments:

Counting Coconuts said...

This was a lovely post, Natalie. I can relate to it because I too am guilty of doing the same thing now and then. Whenever we go off island and visit someplace where there's a lot to do, I get grand visions of how much James will love this or that place. Such was the case during our recent trip to Colorado. While he did enjoy himself, it wasn't always in the way I imagined. I find I need to remind myself of Montessori's words: "follow the child". It is, afterall, James' childhood, NOT mine! :D

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

We were totally this way with our oldest two. Now looking back we laugh, at all the things we thought they "had to do", when they were so little.

Christy said...

I do the same thing sometimes. You would think that having three children, I would have learned this lesson long ago, but I still find myself doing it on occasion. It's hard to resist the urge to give my children experiences that I want them to have. I have to have patience and wait until they are ready. I'm working on it. My kids also get burnt out easily. They need rest days. C and R both got a little sick after our back to back vacations where we tried to stuff so many activities into a few days. My neighbor has breast cancer and is not doing well. She works very hard to create memories for her three children and the one thing I have learned from her is that those memories do not have to cost a penny. Cooking together, snuggling, reading together, just being together is what her girls will remember. Now, I'm on the verge of tears so I'm going to go sit with my kids!

Joyful Learner said...

I'm the same way...so eager that I made a list of all the places I wanted to take her while she was in my womb! You would think after so many years of traveling solo that I would curb it and settle down? Well, our first trip was when she was 13 weeks! I think what slowed me down at first was JC's dislike of being in the car. When she outgrew that, it was the hassle of packing her food everywhere and making sure there were emergencies hospitals everywhere....we had a bad experience in Hawaii. Luckily, everything turned out all right. Now, we try to mix going out with down time. She's the happiest when she has lots of down time. And it's true, sometimes she is perfectly fine going to a local park. It's usually the parent who can't stand it. Our local park is bustling with people and my husband came back yesterday saying, "It's so boring there!" lol.

Joyful Learner said...

Forgot to mention, JC had a blast at the same park!

Aging Mommy said...

Great post. I have to say I admire you for making the very most of the time you spend with Anna and for challenging her as you do with projects, museum trips and more. I always feel we should be doing so much more to educate our daughter but she is always happiest when we "stay home" and do nothing much other than be together. So I think the wanting to do things is my want and not hers as I really don't like just being stuck around the house all day. For our daughter the best part of our recent vacation was coming home again. She disappeared off to her room straight away to say "hello" to all her beloved furry friends :-)

Infant Bibliophile said...

This really sounds like me! My son isn't even 3. I was saying to my husband yesterday, "I really should do an activity to review ____ (I think it was the more complicated shapes) with him..." and then I said, "or, we can just wait. He's only 2!" I am so eager to jump into the homeschooling thing that it is hard to slow down. When we push it, I guess we might risk extinguishing that natural drive to learn that they already have. Or at least, that is my fear. I am trying not to buy any curricula for this reason (yet). Although I might cave and get some workbooks that I can pull a page out of here and there for after our new baby comes in case I am too tired to think of many original ideas. Anyway, great post idea.

Debbie said...

I believe we are all guilty of this. As parents we all want our children to experience so many cool and interesting things, but we forget it can't happen in a short span of time. We get caught up quite a few times on our outings wanting to share with Selena everything there is to see. She trudges along until finally she is just spent, exhausted. We realize after it is too late that it is time to switch gears and slow down. I guess I am just trying to tell you, all parents are guilty of wanting our children to experience so much, that at times yes we over load them. That is normal. No matter how many times we remind ourselves to slow down, these urges creep up when we are out and about with them, and generally we give in and do it again. Hold on, I think this is all apart of raising a child!

The girl who painted trees said...

I'm guilty of the same thing. The dinosaur museum in our city charges 13 dollars for 3 year olds. I wanted to take her there and the other museum that has Egyptian artifacts, but as my husband kindly reminded me...why don't we just wait til she's old enough to really appreciate it. Bear loves being home and if asked if she'd like to do X, she usually says she wants to stay home.

Lisa said...

I don't think I've ever really had the urge to do too much too soon, but I've had to rethink my expectations about what sort of experiences my son would enjoy. He has some sensory processing issues, and is hugely overstimulated by the things you'd expect most kids to like. Birthday parties are too loud and crowded, it's too bright and hot outside in the summer, etc.
I occasionally catch myself thinking "we should really take the kids to do (whatever)," and then I have to admit that's because I'd like to go, or would have enjoyed it as a child, and not because the kids would particularly like it.

Brimful Curiosities said...

One of my daughter's favorite parts about going on vacation is staying in the hotel. She likes to explore the big "castle" and, of course, go swimming. While it's best not to over-schedule trips, the change of scenery, change of schedule and routine is fun for kids and helps them learn to adjust to different situations. But, you definitely don't have to travel to provide "immersive" experiences. Neat and interesting activities and places can often be found right in your backyard.

Ticia said...

Bother my phone ate my reply. So short answer yes

Elizabeth (DomanMom) said...

We just went to Monterey Bay Aquarium this past weekend. While my son (5) had an awesome time and was interested in a lot, by the end of it he was paying more attention to the levers and buttons than the animals and plants. I do frequently have to remind myself that that is OKAY.

Sure, there are dozens of "teachable moments" a day, but sometimes I think it's more important (for me at least) to recognized the NON teachable moments than it is to recognize the teachable ones.

I'm definitely guilty of the "too much too soon" mindset on occasion and have to pace myself. Knowing that it's not the end of the world if we don't get EVERYTHING done in one day seems to be my mantra in life sometimes. There will always be tomorrow. Or next year. Thanks for the great post.

My Family My Forever said...

I do this way too often Natalie. I try so hard to remind myself to just focus on the small things, the important things, and remember that activities and such do not have to be grand or expensive to make memories, but too often I fail. I would truly love to slow down and focus on the small things. I think we all do this for one reason or another in different ways/areas. This is a wonderful post. And, I had no idea you'd been married before. Isn't it true, much sweeter the second time around:-).

Ozymandiaz said...

I do this all the time too. Especially living here in the bay area, there is so much I want the kids to experience. We've been to every museum in a 50 mile radius (including Monterey Bay and I have to confess, I was as under-whelmed as the kids with that one). My kids (almost 5 and 2) seem to enjoy the smaller, not as famous museums much more than the world famous must-see ones. We love Coyote Point here in San Mateo and Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley.

I feel the same way with enrichment classes and summer camps too! So many, many exciting options available. It was so hard to pick just 1 or 2 per kid and not over-schedule them.