Since Annie is the only kid in our home, she spends the majority of her time interacting with adults. This never struck me as a potential problem, especially since I’m pretty much a big kid myself, but yesterday a couple things happened that made me wonder if we need to get Annie around kids her age more often.
The first thing happened after Annie looked out the window and said, “There’s monsters out there.” I nodded and replied, “Yup. Gotta be careful!” This is a silly little thing we’ve done every night since our trip to Santa Barbara, and it always makes us giggle. (For the record Heather thinks we’re weirdos.) Anyway, after our usual monsters shtick Annie added, “You think monsters will play with me? Nice monsters come play?” I was briefly taken aback by this, after all, what could possibly make a kid want to play with a monster? Could she be that lonely?
I told Annie that I didn’t think a monster would play with her but that I would. Annie accepted this, but as we played blocks I got the feeling she was thinking, “Playing with Dad? Again?”
The second thing that happened related to Annie’s new found obsession with Snow White. She now not only asks to be called “Snow White,” but has a Snow White dress that she literally wakes up asking to wear.
“Good morning, Annie!”
“Not ‘Annie,’ Dada. ‘Snow White!’ Wear dress?”
I hadn’t been able to figure out why Annie was so captivated with Snow White until yesterday when she asked, “Dada? Where the seven dwarfs? I want to play with them. They’re like kids.”
I laughed at this initially – it was a pretty cute thing for a kid to say – but the more I thought about it I started to worry that she was calling out for kids her own age – friends – to interact with.
Annie does have her cousins (including BFF Michaela) to play with, as well as the kids of our adult friends, but on an average day Annie hangs with only adults. Since I don’t want her to be lonely or to stunt her development, I’ve started to think about whether this is healthy for her.
Is there an age when Annie really needs to be around kids her age? Should we put her into pre-school early? Heather and I both had siblings in the home from the moment we came home from the hospital, so these questions are new to us.