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A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: Urban Life

"Out of the mouths of babes..." Matthew 21:16
Living in the city with a toddler means that we spend a lot of time at playgrounds. Indeed, the parks in Pittsburgh are some of the cities richest treasures.

My daughter loves the Pittsburgh city playgrounds.

My daughter enjoys the parks so much that  last week when I took too long to get ready she looked at me and said, “Mommy, this is ridiculous!” Where did she learn to say “ridiculous” at 2.5? Apparently, her father.  Later that week, I overheard him tell her “You’re a big girl, this is getting ridiculous!” after she pooped in her pants for the second time in as many days . 

Children absorb what we say and learn lessons about how to conduct themselves based on what we teach them. While ridiculous might not be the most appropriate word choice for a toddler, I had to respect how she used it in appropriate context and had just the right inflection to communicate her point. And since instead of going to the park I was on the computer Tweeting and blogging for about 25 minutes after saying we were going to the park, which is the equivalent of an entire day in toddler years, her comment was justified.

Last night while we were at a park in another part of town, I was reminded that what we teach children is what they embody. 

The playground can be a tough place.

We were in the park doing our usual routine. Andre was doing chin ups or something on the monkey bars and the toddler and I were walking around, swinging, sliding and playing on the jungle gym. There were four other girls there too. Two were about 10 years old, one was about 6 and I learned later the other was 2.5 a couple of months younger than my toddler. Since we had all been there for a while I encouraged my daughter to greet them and introduce herself. Being her friendly, gregarious self, she took me up on it. She went up to the little one, smiled and said, “Hi, what’s your name?!” The little girl looked at her and said to one of the older girls, “I don’t like her.” Then she looked at my daughter and turned to the other girl and said, “I don’t like that girl.”

I was stunned.

First, who wouldn’t immediately fall in love with my toddler?! Fortunately, my toddler decided to reject the comment and keep on playing with a smile.  However, more importantly, I was amazed that a child that small would have learned how to dislike someone they had just met.  I looked at the little girl’s face and noticed that she seemed to lack the light hearted spirit that my daughter has. Her eyes didn’t illuminate and her mouth wasn’t smiling. It made me wonder whether she had already experienced days where she hadn’t felt loved.

My daughter has been at home with a nanny since I returned to work after maternity leave.  She has been safe and protected and we have controlled her environment. She begins pre-school in the fall and will be interacting with other children more regularly. This trip to the playground reminded me that when she does, everything will change...

Toddler enjoying the city...

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