Mommy, I’m not a circus animal

Last weekend was a busy one in Peanut’s household. We attended a friend’s pool party on Saturday and then had family over at our house on Sunday to celebrate my birthday. It was a whirlwind weekend and luckily Peanut does pretty good in the party atmosphere. While I was cleaning up/putting our home back together after the Sunday BBQ, in an apartment half-filled with half-filled boxes for an upcoming move, something dawned on me.

But let me back up for a minute.

I’d like to preface this entry with saying that when it comes to language and vocabulary, I think that Peanut does pretty well for herself. I don’t have any other children of my own to compare her too, but friends of ours with children are always commenting on how verbal she is and how quickly she accurately mimics words (a.k.a. no more swearing in this household!).

To say that we love to engage Peanut in speaking and trying new words out is an understatement, it is just so fun! To hear her little teeny voice come out with some “grown-up” words brings a smile to my face every time. But after this weekend, I realize it may have gone too far. At each party, Peanut ended up literally being the center of attention while people “quizzed” her (What is your name? How do you spell your name? Can you say “fill in silly phrase” here?) She was like a circus animal in the middle of the ring, performing for peanuts/oohs, aahs and laughs from the crowd. When my brain had time to wrap around this image, I felt really bad.

So, my husband and I have spoken about this since last weekend and we’ve decided that although we still want to engage Peanut in everyday conversations, with ourselves and with others, our goal in a large group of people is to keep the quizzing to a minimum and focus on letting her express what she wants to express and encouraging her to develop her communication skills, as communication is about a lot more than talking.

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