Watching my 20 month old daughter play with toys that I, myself, used to play with as a child and absolutely loved playing with, makes me feel completely warm and fuzzy.
Being the youngest in a family where even your siblings are 10 years your senior, you almost live as an only child. Rudy Mae’s brothers are extremely involved with her, but they are almost more like a second set of mini-parents than siblings. When it comes to peer-interaction, Rudy is lacking, and sometimes that worries me as far as learning important life skills like sharing, playing nice, etc. Luckily, I have a friend in town in a very similar situation whose baby daughter is 3 months Rudy’s junior. Therefore, we try to get the girls together often so they can play and learn. Mostly this was being done at a house, or even a local coffee shop, but a couple Wednesdays ago, Victoria asked me to join her instead at a local playgroup that meets at a playground for approximately 2 hours in the morning. It is attended by kids from about 11 months up to almost 3 years old. It was a lovely time and Rudy Mae and Ainslee Mae continued to solidify their friendship and thoroughly enjoy each others company.
We love our local library.
Living away from family and not knowing too many people where we moved to, pretty much all Rudy Mae has socially is her big brothers and her parents. We have a few friends, and one little friend in particular that Rudy Mae has play dates with now and then, but I started to feel really bad for her not having much around-her-age-interaction. I looked into our local library’s programs and they hold a baby and toddler play group on Thursday afternoons. Around Rudy’s first birthday, we started attending said play group. It took quite a few attendances for Rudy Mae to finally warm up and leave my lap, but once she ventured out, she really enjoyed herself. I am always so happy to go the Play Group because I know it is good for her and that she has more fun than when we’re just sitting at home.
The only thing that I am not particularly fond of is the timing of it. Play Group starts at 2pm and that almost always falls right when Rudy Mae is napping. It is usually around the end of the nap, at least, so in the case of last week, I woke her up from her nap a tad early so we could make Play Group.
This was a mistake.
On Sunday morning, Rudy Mae and I woke up before everyone. We ate a delicious breakfast and as soon as we were done, I could tell she was ready and rarin’ to go. We got dressed, brushed our teeth (a current obsession of hers), grabbed jackets and a camera, and went outside for a walk. Outside walks are a new thing to Rudy Mae. She has been walking for about two months now, but had a vendetta with shoes for the longest time (which I am just fine with- I have never had any of my children in shoes until they were steady walkers and we needed to walk in a public place or the likes. I feel like bare feet is the best way for them to learn). And if you know our outdoors area here, it is riddled with pine needles, twigs, soggy grass and an entire assortment of other maladies that she did not enjoy walking on with bare feet. Then one day, out of the blue, she picked up a shoe and demanded it be put on. Now she does not ever want to come back indoors.
As we went around the block, Rudy Mae was intrigued by what seemed to be a garage sale and helped herself up into the driveway. As I went to retrieve her, I saw a family that we know from our local library’s play group that Rudy Mae goes to on Thursday afternoons. We said our hellos and when I joked about Rudy just walking into people’s yards, they laughed, “Well this is the one she should go to! This lady is giving tons of stuff away for free!” I immediately began to have an internal struggle! “Free?! Go look, Erica!” “You are constantly trying to reduce at home and get down to bare essentials- GO HOME!” “But maybe Rudy Mae might find a little book or something…” In the end, Free won, and we walking into the garage. We found some pretty awesome treasures.