Friday, January 15, 2010

Performance Anxiety

A mom commented today that her son doesn't like to perform. It made me wonder if I am one of those moms who treats her kid like a trained monkey.
TG loves to dance and follow directions and show off her knowledge. I'm sure DH and I have encouraged this with our heaps of praise and excitement when she tries to count to ten or sing the ABCs. By the way, I'm fairly certain she doesn't just try to reiterate the sequence of numbers but actually understands that it has to do with quantity as I've noticed she'll play by herself and take objects and move them together as she spouts out the number. It's not always correct but it's still a number.
As I was saying, I suppose since my experience is limited to my child and we love to repeat these little counting games or animal sound games, I occasionally do the same to other tots in TG's playcircle.
I don't think I do it to the extent that it's some type of crazy 'dance monkey dance' thing but I did it to some frequency that led her to say that to me.
"She was being defensive. It's ok." said my husband. "TG is a little more of a chatter box than the other kids in her group. I chalk it up to her being a girl."
I suppose so. As moms I know we try not to compare our kids but we may slip from time to time. Perhaps my playing 'Where is your body part?' led to some weird comparison undertone. I sincerely apologize if that was the case. I was simply trying to distract both kids from standing and running on the couch.
Of course, being a neurotic New Yorker, I brought this back to me. Am I a coaching mom? Do I heap too much enthusiasm in her responses? Do I 'question' her too much?
Tonight as I was shuffling my ever growing stack of articles and books to read around, I found an article I tore up from Scholastic Parent and Child regarding development and growth of a toddler. In it Dr. Alice Sterling Honig discusses the growth of 1 to 2 year old. It essentially confirmed what I was doing and told me to continue playing movement games, silly games and knowledge games. "Toddlers are into games that involve naming body parst and making animal noises--anything that allows them to be loud and silly and to show off what they know."
I also recalled her pediatrician saying that repetition is key at this stage and to continue with routines and games of repetition.
I interpreted these two items as signs that I wasn't a coach mom but simply a mom and that I should continue to do what I have been doing. TG is thriving and she has a smile and giggle that lights up the room. I'm not saying that because I'm her mom either. It really is an infectious smile.
I try not to compare and I hope I don't appear to be one with her playmates. I see each child as an individual all trying to learn and grow at their own pace. We all have different parenting styles and I shouldn't question myself like that. She's only 1 year old. If I kept second guessing my parenting, I'd probably be one gigantic worry ball by the time she stars kindergarten.