Monday, May 23, 2016

Unnoticed lessons

Last week my mother bought my daughter a new toy.  This isn't really a shock, since my mother has a habit of buying things for my daughter whether she needs them or not.  This time it was a baby doll that has a stroller it can be pushed around in.  My daughter loves it, not because she loves baby dolls, but because she loves pushing things around.  She loves to be pushed in her stroller, and she loves pushing this baby doll in its stroller.  The doll itself is one of those weird dolls that makes noises when you squeeze its tummy, so it says "mama" and "dada" and then cries.  All of this is unremarkable, to be honest.  It's just a toy for little kids to play with.

So why am I bringing it up at all, right?  The thing is, after my daughter got this relatively unattractive doll and began playing with it, my mom sent me a couple of photos and a text message.  My daughter was kissing the doll in the first photo, and in the second one, she had picked it up and was hugging it.  The text message said "When the baby cries, she gives it kisses and hugs and picks it up and says "ohhhh" while she hugs it".  That was the moment when I realized that she knows what to do when a baby cries because she knows what my husband and I do when she cries.  Right down to saying "ohhhh".  My husband does that a lot.  He will hug her and say "Ohhh, it's not so bad.  It's ok".  I pick her up and give her hugs and kisses.  She knows how to love something else because she experiences us loving her, and that's really something I had never thought about up to that point.  I never really considered that so many of the lessons she will be learning are not through us sitting her down and actually teaching her, but through watching us interact with each other, and with her.  Every day, we are teaching her lessons in how to treat other people, how to behave in social settings, how to understand and interact with the world around her, and we don't even realize we're doing it.  I guess that, for not realizing this has been happening all along, we've been doing a pretty good job since she's a fairly well adjusted kid so far.  In reality, all that means is that if she's a reflection of what she's been watching us do for the last year and a half, it's a decent indication that we're not total assholes.  Hopefully.  I guess time will tell.


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