So what's the deal?
Whenever we go out as a de Gallo family we seem to attract kids. I know we're not that fun, because we're always yelling and arguing with each other. Yet, they are drawn to us like...well, they're drawn to us.
I don't mind mystery kids coming and playing with Piko while we're out doing stuff. I think it's great to encounter a friendly child who is confident enough to play with new kids. UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE OF THEIR PARENTAL UNIT.
What I don't like it the child that would much rather have MY attention. Or rather NEEDS my attention.
For example. We took Piko to a splash pool the other week, just for a change in the routine, and Sarge was off during the week. We figured it would not be too crowded, and we would have a good time. It was empty!! Maybe two other kids there when we got there. However once we all got into the pool and started hanging out, this girl who was probably about 8 or 9 came over. Now Piko is not much into getting splashed or actually swimming, so naturally we stick close to her and pay alot of attention to what she's doing. Well this mystery child comes over, and I'm thinking great, a kid for Piko to play with, more fun for everyone. Yesh, I wish. She wanted me to watch her swim backwards, dive under water, teach her how to do a handstand. Will I come with her while she goes down the slide? Can I watch her jump off the diving board? Watch me! WATCH ME!!
No, not so much.
Where was her parental unit? Sitting outside the swimming area watching her from behind the glass. Sarge says I should cut him some slack because at least he brought her to the pool in the first place. Sure, but I swear I saw one of the lifeguards napping. I'm not too sure I want to put too much faith in them.
Here is my theory on this, and it has been influenced by my sister-in-law who is an elementary school teacher. She says that you can really separate the kids that get alot of attention at home from the kids who don't. The kids who do get alot of attention are alot more confident and independent. Children who do not are usually begging for her constant attention, especially in the early days of school. Now, I know that I am very, very lucky to be able to stay at home with my kid and be with her so much. And I sure do understand dual working parents, and don't think that they're doing the wrong thing by working, quite possibly the family would suffer even more if they did not go to work. Heck if my career path was not "Retail" I'm sure I'd be at work right now too. But I do think that spending time with your kid does not have to mean being a stay at home parent. It means when you go to the pool or the park, or even just at home you actually take part in the activity, play, swim, have fun, INTERACT. Have fun WITH your child. Pay attention TO your child. Show them that you are interested in what they are saying, even if you don't understand what they are saying. Yes it's very annoying to watch your kid do the same trick over and over and over and over again. And listen to the same knock knock joke a million times. But you know what's even more annoying? Having to watch someone elses kid.
Honestly, I don't think that I have the all the answers, but I have noticed that giving Piko alot of attention, and doing things with her has lead to alot more independent playing. I know that does not make much sense, but when we're at home, she'll play by herself while I'm computer-ing, or sewing, for hours! But she knows that when she comes to me with a question or wants me to look at something I'll stop what I'm doing and pay attention to her.
Let's not even get into the whole: I'm a stranger, and you're not paying attention to what your kid is doing.