As a stay-at-home mom, I try really hard to provide enriching and social opportunities for my young toddler. These can range from one on one or group play dates to childcare at church to local community classes through the museum or library. And since the day that child was old enough to stay awake longer than an hour, that child has been to these activities. And with that, ever since she has been old enough to stay awake longer than an hour, she has also been the most physically active and curious child there.
From kicky infant to active toddler
My daughter went from an active, kicky infant to an active, mobile toddler. At music class she is usually the one, not clapping patty cake on mommy’s lap, but standing right in front of the teacher. She’s soaking in every word and all the people around her, and wanting to touch all the things. This also is followed by lots of corralling and strong-willed behavior for freedom. As a mother, I can get embarrassed by her rambunctious behavior at these structured-ish activities and feel the judgement burning from other mothers’ eyes. It may be all in my head. I always hope to myself that their toddler, who is sitting quietly in their laps, has these moments, too. I know they do. Our moments are just all the time.
She’s bold and brave and independent
However, the early childhood educator in me takes a deep breath and smiles. She’s bold. She’s brave. She’s independent. And, oh my, is she great. It takes boldness and bravery to stand in front of a crowd. It takes independence and confidence to approach strangers with excitement and curiosity. She has such few words still yet you can see in her eyes her genuine connection and other bursting communication skills.
I hate that other people are judging her behavior, but more so because they don’t really know her. They don’t know that she loves hard with surprising, for no reason hugs all.day.long. They don’t know that she is fiercely funny with unprompted silly dancing and noises to make others laugh. They don’t know that she can be soft and tender with such empathy when she feels bad for her actions or notices a friend is sad. They don’t know that she is so much more than that rambunctious, active child.
The struggle is real
Even though, sometimes, the struggle is real, I will continue to take her to these activities. And afterwards, I end up exhausted by my “strong willed” and active child. But, I do it for her because I know she is really just trying to figure this life out. And because I am also proud of her exploding personality that brings light to a room and I know will take her places some day. And isn’t that what we all want for our children?