I admit that I was concerned several months ago when Daphne went through that severe separation anxiety phase. It's not a big deal if she's shy, I told myself over and over again. But it brought to mind when I was teaching and the students who would freak out when their parents left and then hang off my arm for the entire school day, timidly breaking off every so often to whisper to themselves in a corner. Although, those children sometimes grow up to be NASA scientists and invent iPods. I've never invented anything except my own unique way of typing, so like I kept telling myself, it's OK if she's shy and off in her own little dream world.
But suddenly she outgrew that and became this social butterfly who thrives around people and action and excitement. She feeds off attention from others and becomes a little show-off who wants to keep the crowds entertained. Maybe this is also just a phase and she will revert back to being terrified of strangers again, and in that case we'll keep the NASA internship idea open. But I admit there's so much more to work with when your baby becomes brave.
Daphne's current most favorite thing to do is be around other children. She can be the grouchiest baby in the universe (not just world, but entire universe) while at home, but as soon as we get out to where other people her size are playing, she is the most cheerful baby you will ever see. Because of this I've been looking for local playgroups, etc., to get her involved in, hoping to encourage the happy side of her to come out more often. I usually get together with a friend or two and her kid/kids at least once a week, mostly for my own sanity, but I still wanted to find group events made just for babies.
Today was our first day of attendance to the Tiny Tots reading group at our local library branch, the group for 1 year olds. As soon as we walked in the door Daphne was pushing at my arms to get down and play. All the other moms were sitting in a quiet circle with their little darlings calmly in their laps. Daphne escaped from me, crawled to the nearest boy and stole his water cup. Smiling charmingly at him while doing so, of course.
At one point we each got our own book to read with our child. Daphne was sitting in David's lap (he came, too, although he said he felt dumb and doesn't want to go back. Something about cheesy songs), but she pushed away pretty quickly to go sit with another mom and her little boy instead.
So far I don't think I need to be nervous about leaving her on the first day of preschool. Way to stay loyal to the team, Daph.
She loved crawling around the circle, smiling at everyone she passed. One little boy to our right was closest to Daphne in age and the only one also not walking yet. Although he outweighed Daphne by a good 10lbs, that did not stop her from grabbing his shirt and pulling him right over. It reminded me of an outfit she used to wear and that said "don't let my size fool you." Don't worry, this little boy wasn't intimidated by her brawn; he had a great time pulling the flower clip out of her hair and trying to run (crawl) away with it. And when he went over to the wall and stood up to play with the safely-covered plug-ins, Daphne crawled right over and copied him. I think the teacher was mildly annoyed at the twin trouble makers who were not participating in the cheesy songs.
It was strange how Daphne mostly ignored the girls in the class.
The class ended with play time and bubble blowing, both which were a great hit. We are now huge Tiny Tot fans, and are planning on spending many a future Wednesday and Friday mornings encouraging Daphne's very colorful social skills.
And finally, a little lesson on how nice it is to share: