Wednesday 25 September 2013

F for Fun and Friends

When I was growing up, it was in a small town and I know that my parents trusted me implicitly. I was allowed to ride my bike to school and I never asked permission to do things, I just had to be courteous and let someone know what I was doing. I had my own key to the house since I was in primary school and I could be trusted to make simple meals by myself while aged in the single digits. Friends were the people we grew up around and it really was determined by location and nearness. This had me thinking about the friends that Ellie has now, how she came by them, and whether they’re friends she’ll keep when she’s older. Really, they’re the children of my friends. The people she goes to daycare with, and most importantly, the children of mothers in my mother’s group. Apart from my friends who live all over, for Ellie it’s also somewhat proximity based more than any real preferences from herself.

Ellie has just recently gotten to an age where she’s interested in interacting with other babies. Previously, if I’m honest, gatherings were more for the mother’s sake and we would all chat and compare notes while our babies sat still on a mat and gazed around them in wonder. Now, we still chat but we’re often interrupting ourselves to chase down a wayward crawling child, or instigate sharing when one child has snatched all the toys. It’s great that they’re now starting to interact with each other, but sometimes I’m just bamboozled with the things Ellie chooses to play with.
Her idea of fun is ripping up the junk mail. Pulling tissues out of a box one after the other. Examining each item in the (clean) recycling bin. Staring through the crimsafe and moving her head back and forth to make things fuzzy. Opening and shutting drawers… not taking anything out or looking in them – just opening and shutting them. Eating a leaf and pulling up handfuls of grass. Rolling around on the rug and studying lint. Which I think is just great for my wallet and appeals to my frugal side no end! Thinking about it more, I suppose that when everything is new to you, of course it’s amusing and interesting. It’s when you start to get a bit older and ‘wiser’ that things become mundane and jaded. I personally hope that Ellie keeps her sense of wonder with the world because I love seeing things through her eyes!

Of course, she has more traditional toys as well. Mr Fork and I generally ignore the age suggestions given and look more at what interests her when we’re choosing things.

Apparently this ball pit is for age 3+ but Ellie loves it anyway
As long as she’s not going to choke on any small pieces it comes down to judgement calls about what is suitable. It’s really hard when it comes to buying presents as there is SO MUCH COOL STUFF out there! We’ve had to put a system in place. Every occasion that Ellie gets gifts, we limit ourselves to a maximum of four things:
  1. Something to read
  2. Something to wear
  3. Something she needs
  4. Something to play with
We hope that this will do several things. Teach her the value of things. Help us save money by allowing us to buy things such as a school backpack in the future. Encourage a love of books. Making us carefully choose her presents as each one needs to count.
How does your child have fun with friends? How did they meet their friends?

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