Annie is slowly, slooooowly breaking out of her shyness around strangers. It’s strange for me and Mike because we aren’t shy at all. We’re not sure if we should be forcing her to interact, or let her go at her own pace. So far we’ve mostly gone at her pace, with a few instances of forced interaction with parental guidance. It seems to be working, although yesterday we were at a three-hour birthday party, and Annie wanted to be held for two-thirds of it. Baby steps.
In contrast to this, I’ve noticed that Annie has been getting more confident physically. When we were in Arizona last month, her cousins were bouncing on the beds. At first Annie was standing off to the side, watching, but she eventually asked if she could also jump. I never thought I’d actually encourage a child of mine to jump on the bed, but she was being so timid and I wanted her to break out a bit.
As you can see, she took it very seriously.
Last week my parents and I took Annie to the playground near our house. She liked running around on the grass and sitting on my lap on the swing, but she was hesitant to climb up the stairs of the play structures without me holding her hand. I climbed with her a bit at first, hoping she’d get comfortable, but she got nervous when she saw the only way down was the slide. I went down with her first to show her it was fun. She wanted me to keep sliding with her, but these playground slides are not made for women with childbearing hips. My dad and I started lifting her to the top of the slide, and then we’d hold onto her waist and slide her down. It was going well until she said, “NO. Annie do it.”
I was so happy to hear that she wanted to try it herself. My dad stood next to her and my mom and I stood at the bottom of the slide. My dad placed her at the top and let go. She sat there for a minute, clutching the sides, and then slowly eased herself down.
When she got to the bottom, she sat there for a minute and then said, “Again!”
I was so happy that she did something she’d previously thought was too scary. I was glad I was wearing sunglasses, because I might have teared up like a dork. My cautious girl was being bold!
By the end of our time at the playground, she went down the slide dozens of times. On the last trip down, she only held on with one hand.
It’s this weird parenting line that we’re straddling. I want her to be confident and outgoing, but not so outgoing that she runs up to strangers. I want her to challenger herself and try new things, but I don’t want her scaling bookcases. How am I supposed to know when to push and when to hold her back?