Wednesday, 16 December 2015

They'll get there eventually and it will be worth the wait

Almost two years ago exactly, I lined up with my then 18 month old to put her on a pony ride. We got to the front of the line and she kicked and screamed and didn't want to go anywhere near it. Since then, there have been numerous pony ride opportunities and I've always offered but never pushed her to try. You can't force enjoyment on somebody.

Then just last week we were at the same event from two years ago. She knew there was going to be pony rides and now as a somewhat anxious 3.5 year old, she spent the days leading up to the event telling me she didn't want to go on one. That's fine I said. You don't have to. Nobody is going to make you. 

I was sitting down eating lunch with the twins and Miss 3 came bounding back from the bouncy castle. "Mummy, mummy, mum, I DO want to go on a pony ride!" I didn't want to discourage her but I did say something upon the lines of, "So you want me to pack up the lunch, put the twins into the pram, line up in the sun and then when we get to the front of the line you will get on the horse?" "Yes!" So that is what we did and she did it. She went on the horse. I don't think she was particularly taken by horse riding but she was certainly pretty proud of herself and I was proud of her too.

It's funny how children are so different. I put both S and L on a horse too and they weren't at all phased. Not a big deal in the least but for their older sister it was a massive deal and she knew it more than anyone. I can't think of anything which has triggered her to be nervous but she's just grown up a little bit scared of things and it's so nice to see her overcoming her fears. 

Animals is a big one. Dog was one of her first words yet if one comes anywhere near her she is terrified. She wants to like them and sometimes she'll tell me she wants to pat one but really she just sneaks up, pokes it with one finger and runs away.

Last year, she absolutely refused to go anywhere near the water when we were at the beach. I tried a few times and eventually gave in and just played with her in the sand, accepting that she just didn't want to get in. Then one day she was playing happily in the sand with my parents who had also given up on asking if she wanted to get in the water. All of a sudden she jumped up and said she did want to go in. We let her get there in her own time and she did. Pushing didn't help.

There are a lot of photos around at the moment of children sitting on Father Christmas' lap. Like many of them, Miss 3 is absolutely adamant that she does not like that Christmas Man. The Easter Bunny freaks her out too. I think we're a few years away from overcoming this particular fear but one day I'll get 'that photo' and I think she'll be smiling more than anyone because she'll not just be excited to be with Father Christmas but amazingly proud to be overcoming her fear. 

It's taken me a while but I'm finally learning that there is a lot more enjoyment waiting for a child to be ready than pushing them because you think they should like it. They'll get there eventually and it will be worth the wait.

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