I’ve noticed that she has about a 10 min limit with strangers. Recently I’ve been out to places where other people want to hold her, and when they do she is calm and happy to sit with them. For a bit. Then she politely asks to nurse, and gets passed back to me. Where she is not interested in nursing.
So far, the people who have held her have been on the ball at reading her cues and have been respectful of them. Doulas, other moms and my friend Olivia who has always treated all children like they are legit human beings. These people know when their turn is up and its all good. I’ve yet to see what happens when someone holds her and either can’t read her cues, or just ignores them.
She’s pretty easy going. She’s not Cordelia, who ddidn’tgive a shit who held her and could be happy being passed from person to person for hours, making new friends all over all the time. She’s not Blaze, who really didn’t do the being held by strangers thing and would demand to go back to her mom RIGHT NOW k thanks. she’s Thalia, my little fish who slipped out so fast, small and sleek. She’s different than both of my others and I’m looking forward to seeing in what ways as she grows up.
There’s still been a lot of talk about guinea pigs. Its going to happen, we have warmed up to the idea. But iI’m dragging it out and we are making a project of the whole thing. This morning I took all my girls to the big pet store. Cordelia brought her notebook and a pen and her backpack. We went to do “research” on guinea pigs. Cordelia sat on the floor in front of the pigs, notebook open, and we discussed what they need. She carefully made a list in her notebook. Hay, water in a bottle, food, a bowl, a house for sleeping, bedding, toys for chewing, a cage. Then we talked about money and we walked around the store writing down the prices of the things on the list. She recorded it all in her book, carefully copying out all the numbers. Theres a lot of positive things to be said about following the child’s lead on things they are interested in. In acquiring guinea pigs, we can learn about how to take care of animals, we can learn about money, we can learn about math, we can learn how to plan ahead and save up for buying something big. We can learn that you always need to do your research about a pet before bringing it home. We can learn about not making impulse buys. We can learn that $11.99 is an outrageous price to pay for a small bag of hay, and we can talk about alternatives, like sweet talking some farmers at the market to get a flake of hay instead. We can learn about how you ddon’tbuy animals at the pet store. We can learn how to use a computer to look things up like “what do guinea pigs eat?” Jim says “everything. All the vegetable scraps. that’s what they are FOR. Then we eat them.” Which made me think, of course, we can also learn about how different people in the world eat different things. Even guinea pigs.
The awesome thing about letting the child lead is that they are actually interested in what they are learning. They get so in depth, so focused on one thing, and your job is to milk it for all its worth. I worked in a daycare where the three year olds were really, deeply into eggs. Birds come from eggs! Eggs can be really big! Eggs can be really small! Eggs can be different colors! We counted eggs, we matched and sorted eggs, we built birds nests. Then I blew all their little three-year old minds by taking it in a new direction – lizards come from eggs! Omg! I remember Ibought a couple of those “you put it in a bowl of water and over time the spongy thing inside grows to a million times its size” animals from the dollar store. They were plaster eggs. Inside the plaster eggs were lizards. It took two days but the lizards absorbed water and burst out, hatching, to the absolute delight of 24 preschoolers. It was such a hit my supervising teacher had to go buy a couple more so we could do it again – but this time with gators. The kids didn’t realize they were actually working on their pre-math and writing skills, they just all though eggs were awesome for a few weeks.