Since we returned from our holiday, we seem to have a new lease of life as a familial unit. We're doing more fun things together. We had dinner out on the spur of the moment and Grace impressed us with her gravity and charming behaviour. There have been more park visits that include all three of us. Not everyday of course, but on the weekend and sometimes at the end of the day when we're all around during the week. That's not to say there aren't the usual squabbles and shouty times that living with a nearly two year old seem to provoke, but there's a new lightness. I like it. And so do Grace and Gerard.
It's also become obvious that Grace wants to spend more time with kids. Bubbys and other children seem to be her main preoccupation at the moment. She looks for pictures in the Good Weekend (newspaper supplement) and on telly and in books. She points at them with great excitment on the street and in shops. Given that she's an only child and that most of our friends are older and either don't have children or have adult children, and that my mother's group has become semi regular due to everyone's work comittments et cetera, we really have to go out and look for where the children play. And parks are good for running off that toddler hyperactivity. Sometimes though, her enthusiasm can be a little overwhelming for the other child, especially the younger ones. She rushes up saying bubby, bubby, hellooo. She even gave one little boy a hug right after she first met him and had to be pulled away for a little chat about how we don't normally cuddle people we don't know yet and that it might frighten them. How two gnarly old introverts have produced such an outgoing child stuns me a little.
Following a chat with a friend the other day, I've also put Grace's name down at a local kinder that also runs a playgroup. It's something I've been thinking about for a while and I had a long phone conversation with the woman who runs the group and it sounds just the ticket. And yes, there are daddies and nanas that go too. So if I'm working, mum or G can take Grace. As I was trying to suss out what sort of activites they did, I said something polite about my mother's group not quite meeting Grace's needs at the moment. And the woman hit it right on the head when she said that mother's groups are for mothers, not children. It's not that Grace doesn't have a great time at mother's group, she does and we'll still go but I think she's ready for something a little more structured and with a wider range of ages as well. Hopefully the waiting list will move quickly. We're going to go for a visit soon to check it out for three year old kinder next year and I might also ring around and see if there are any other similar programs nearby. And in the meantime, I'll just have to be a little more proactive (grits teeth, how I dislike that word) and organise some play dates with the kids we do know.