Thursday, 15 December 2011
I have a friend with whom I used to be very close. We spent a lot of time together since she only lived 10 minutes from my house. She is about 4 years older than me and married. She and her husband had been trying to conceive for many years, but at that time, they still had no children.
In the past few years, our lives took us different directions and I moved to another town about 2 hours away from her. Cell phone reception is bad on my end and she's not very fond of talking on the phone anyway; likewise with emailing. So we don't get to see each other very much anymore, but whenever I travel, I try to work it out so I can stop by and visit her when I pass through her city. She and her husband share 1 car and it's not usually an option for her to meet us somewhere, we just have to come to her house.
At any rate, she now has a 3-yr-old daughter and I have a daughter that's not quite 2. On one of those passing-through visits (the girls were more like 2 1/2 and 15 months at the time), I had allotted several hours to spend with her at her house, hoping our daughters would play well together and she and I could do some catching up. As we talked and the kids played, I noticed her daughter was picking up every toy that mine put down and placing it up high, where my daughter wouldn't be able to reach it anymore. Soon there were no more toys left within my daughter's reach. I pointed it out to my friend and she just laughed, as if it were really funny, and did nothing about it. Then my daughter saw a baby doll in a stroller that was out of her reach and started saying, "Baby, baby." She was (and still is) in a phase where she LOVES baby dolls and playing "mommy"! I asked my friend's daughter if mine could play with her baby doll. She wouldn't answer me; she is pretty shy with people she doesn't know. And her mom directed her to say one of these two options: "Sure," OR, "I'd rather she didn't." And guess which one she chose to say? Since my daughter, being 15 months, didn't really understand what was going on, my friend recommended to the 2 1/2 year old that they put her dolls and stroller in the bedroom and shut the door so my child couldn't get to them.
I've been pretty at a loss as to how to handle this situation. The truth is, my friend and I have very different approaches to parenthood and I don't care for her parenting style very much. I'm not saying one is right and one is wrong, just that I don't know how - or if - I can find a happy medium. If the tables had been turned, I would have handled my daughter very differently. I want my child to learn to share, and to learn to take care of others - especially children that are younger than her. From things I'm reading, 2 1/2 yrs old is old enough to start learning how to share and take turns.
I know the whole thing isn't going to go perfectly, but in my opinion, it would have been a good opportunity since you have to start somewhere. I would understand if my kid was going after a toy that had some very special significance to her, but the other child didn't want to share anything at all and her mother encouraged her to be selfish.
Since I don't see this person very often, maybe it's not worth doing anything about. But I don't feel like it's right to just write her out of my life.
What should I do? Am I making a big deal over nothing?