If you read this column regularly, you will know I don't like competitive parents. Children develop at their own speed and they all get there in the end. At least, that's what I tell myself when it comes to my littlest one sleeping through the night, or my eldest reliably using the loo and not his pants when he needs to go...
Still, it's good to get an idea of how your child is doing development wise, by using more official measures and not just a comparison with the offspring of your NCT group. So this week it's been quite revealing to attend parents' evening at my children's nursery.
Part of me thinks it is ridiculous that there is such a thing at their tender age, that and the tiny gowns and mortar boards some nurseries make the children wear to mark their graduation to primary school. I can't deny the end result is quite cute and I will no doubt embrace it when the time comes.
So it was with a slight sense of embarrassment that I found myself perched on a tiny chair at a tiny table in the pre-school classroom. Quite why they can't provide full-size chairs for the parents, I'm not sure. Before I chatted to Ethan's key workers, I was given access to his folder, full of all my eldest son's achievements and progress along with pictures and drawings. Everything of note since he started nursery at eight months old.
It's nice to see the other side of my son - to see him as others see him, so to speak. As expected, most of the staff have commented on his shyness. That combined with a strong streak of stubbornness (both, no doubt, from my side of the family) means if he doesn't want to talk to an adult, he won't. All the other children arrive and leave nursery to a chorus of hellos and goodbyes. You are lucky to get a grunt out of Ethan. It's like having a tiny teenager.
He doesn't like big groups or being the centre of attention. Yet at home I can barely shut him up and he loves re-enacting the day's events and putting on a show, bursting out from the living room curtains singing the raindrops song at full volume (if all the raindrops were lemon dropsand gum drops etc). At nursery he refuses to take an active role in circle time, preferring to watch instead. Back home though, he talks me through it and sings all the songs quite happily.
What do you think? Do you see all sides of your child's personality? Do you encourage one side more than another? Let us know by commenting below...
While other parents fear what their child might reveal to the nursery staff, I have realised that Ethan tells them very little at all. When we returned from three weeks in South Africa last year, I though he might tell them about staying with his grandparents, seeing the penguins and meeting baby lions. Nope, instead he told them all about his trip to Thomas Land, which had happened many months before.
Gradually though, Ethan is becoming more confident at nursery and hopefully his time there will help him transition into school next year. Before that happens we have one main area to work on. His key person at nursery is determined that Ethan will be fully toilet trained before starting school, as she's never had a child not ready. After battling on-and-off over this issue for most of this year, I just hope it's sooner. And so does my poor washing machine!
Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine every Friday to join in with the conversation
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