Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How Do You Know?

This is my Baby Lolo. She was born in February 2003 in Hawaii. She is the baby who was the closest to the due date, yet my smallest baby. She was a cryer, screamer and altogether not very pleasant in the beginning. Of course she was a joy to have, to hold, to cuddle, to care for. Looking back- she made me a stronger mom and I love her for it. Well, she's not my baby anymore...

She is now in preschool, she has a new friend Bella. All we hear about lately is Bella this and Bella that. I have finally given in and allowed Lolo and Bella to have a playdate. They had a blast, they want to do it again. My question for everyone is...
How do you know-
-when it is safe for your child to go to someone else's house?
-if the family is ok?
-if your child is going to be in a good environment?
-what the older siblings are going to be like?
-when it's ok to ride in someone elses car?
-if your child will speak up for themselves if something isn't right?
-if the things they will learn from a friend are the things you want them learning?
-if you are being too overly protective?
-when to let go?


Happy Days said...

She is beautifull! I have all of those same questions. I will definately be checking what people have to say!

Lisa said...

What a beautiful girl she is!

I have all of the same questions. I think I'm probably still overprotective, but I figure they're only in preschool, and that's okay. I usually accompany her on playdates until I know the family REALLY well. We also talk over and over (and over) again about how we have rules and if someone else does something that's against our rules doesn't make it okay for you to do it. And when they're at our house, it is Goosey's responsibility to remind them of what our rules are. I wish that the parenting books came with the answers to these more difficult questions!!!
Have a great day!

Mary said...

Oh that is a tough one. I'm not there yet so I have to advice to offer. Adorable pictures :)

kim-d said...

What a beautiful little girl; she looks like she has real zest for life. Even though I am old(er), with adult stepchildren and probably should have answers to your questions, I sure don't. What I can say is this...if I had my way, all of my kids and grandkids STILL would not spend any time out of my sight :). But since that isn't realistic, it's my opinion that you do all of the regular Mom-checking and talking to the other Mom, and then you take a leap of faith. And then, even when everything turns out fine, you realize it's still hard. Mom = overprotective = always. Leap of faith. Sorry I couldn't be of more help :).

Kellan said...

She is simply beautiful!!! I loved all the precious pictures of your sweet girl. And ... it is oh so painful - letting go!! Don't ever let go! Take care. Kellan

Amy said...

lola is precious. i feel like i am faced with the same dilema. fortunately for you and me that your each child has siblings. that way they always have friends around. that's what makes me so happy for my boys. as far as letting them go with others... i think that's really tough. you really have to trust your instinct on this. generally your gut is right! don't ever feel like you have to please others by saying yes! they'll always be your babies... that's how i feel, anyway. good luck.

Courtney said...

I have these same questions so I will be checking back to see what other readers have to say. Good luck and she is soooooo cute!

Courtney said...

By the way, you don't have to post this, but do you mind if I add you to my blog roll?

jerilynne said...

you never let go..i always ask alot of questions..i have to meet the parents before my 16 yr old can go over..sad i know..if your worried bout how the older siblings will be towards yours have a play date at your house with all kids invited & then the other mom may follow & then you could see them in their "world" it may be alot of kids & headache but trust me knowing your daughter is safe with the other family would be worth it..hope all goes well

kimmy said...

I don't think you can ever let go completely...but you have to trust that you have given them the skills necessary to take care of themselves. She is a beautiful child!


Courtney said...

That's fine. I ask because I offended someone once.

Kathryn said...

Oh, look at those precious pics. What a beautiful little lady.
We all have those questions. It can be such a scary world out there.

Don Mills Diva said...

I'm so not at that stage yet so I haven't even considered those questions - just wanted to say what a gorgeous girl you have.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

She went from being adorable to gorgeous!!! Don't think you need to worry about any of the stuff you mentioned - just worry about the boys in her future!!!

(said as a mother of only boys...)

Hallie :-)

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

She went from being adorable to gorgeous!!! Don't think you need to worry about any of the stuff you mentioned - just worry about the boys in her future!!!

(said as a mother of only boys...)

Hallie :-)

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Forget these questions and worry about all future boys!! Shs is gorgeous!!


Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Ignore one of my last 2 comments - I thought I forgot to save it so I sen a second one - then I realized you have to approve them...

My mind is on CJ - sorry!!


linds said...

Such beautiful pictures! Those questions are all good. How to answer them!?!?!

Just the other day I started thinking about Porter going off to school and nearly had a panic attack! Thank goodness I still have 3 years to prep myself!

Are You Serious! said...

I am very protective you just never know anymore. So for me I ask tons of questions which is really hard for me...

I always make sure that the mom is going to be there and that I trust her most of all. But also I try to get to know that family before hand. I never let Emma go over to someones home unless I feel totally comfortable and the sad thing is that there was only one friend that I felt this way about. I'm a firm believer in having them over to our house instead of my kids going over to theirs if at all possible. I don't want to sound like a snob but at least I have more control over the situation. Emma does go over to friends now but usually it's birthday parties where I know there are a lot of kids there and I go over the "rules" such as don't be alone in a room with the father or brother's or any of their friends and that you always stay with your friend. Plus several other's.

I like to watch and see how people drive before they take my kids. So usually I would offer to take and pick her up.

We always tell Emma that if somehting just doesn't feel right or she doesn't feel comfortable to call me and I'll come and get her no questions asked!!!

When Emma was younger like yours the only time I let her go over to people's home was when we had play dates and there were several children other than that I'd say lets meet at the park and have a play date and I'd stay of course and then be able to get to know the mom as the kids play... Personally I'd do it this way until I really knew the person. It's really nice when you know people through church and have been able to watch them and get to know them that way.

Great questions and they're so hard to answer.

Becky said...

She's darling, girlymom...and such a loving big sister, too!

We live near lots and lots of family, and so our son gets to spend the night at Grandma's and a cousin's house from time to time, and then also over at some good friends of ours from church who have two boys close in age and who share our values (so we know that our son isn't playing inappropriate Video games, or watching inappropriate movies or TV over there, etc.), and then the cousin and the boys often come to our place, too. This gives our son 3 great options that he enjoys, which keep him from feeling that we're too stringent by not allowing him to stay overnight with friends from school (because we barely know most of the parents, and for us, knowing the type of people/influence they will be is very important). Besides, they get recess every day to hang out together which is sufficient.

We had a standing rule with our son that he couldn't go over to school friend's houses until he was in 3rd grade. As it has turned out, he's really only been to birthday parties, most of which are held at a local pizza parlor. He's great buddies with several boys, two of which he hangs out with on Wednesday nights at our church Awana Club, so it's not like he's without good social interaction.

That seems to work for us. I think it's encouraged him to branch out a little bit, too...and not just get attached to one friend. (He did that in 1st and 2nd grade, and the friend moved far away which was hard on him.)

Anyway, that's how we did things, and so far, so good. Of course, we've spent a lot of time praying about our children finding good friends, too, because friends do shape our children (for good or bad) over the years, and we want our son to learn to choose his friends wisely.

Stacie said...

GORGEOUS! My son is a February baby, but 2004. :)

OK, it is so hard to let them go elsewhere.

Some things I have done....

Invite myself into their home and judge the hell out of them. (ok, kidding)

I have talked on the phone with the parents, to get a feel for them and their personalities.

Usually the kids will be invited to a birthday party at some point for this child...so I go to the party and stay...checking them all out.

You can also sit your child down and go over the "rules" that you have and apply to staying at other people's home.

then...hold your breath and let go...

Now...in all honesty. There is only ONE place my daughter has ever stayed (other than my house and her dad's house) but she has had other kids over to ours...and my almost 4 year old...he hasn't been anywhere. LOL. BUT when/if it happens these are the guidelines I will use. (I did use these on the one place daughter has been)

RachelT said...

what a beauty!! I have no answers for your questions.. my boy is just 17 mos, but I start feeling panicky thinking of letting him out there in the world in just a few short years. let us know how the play date goes!

OHmommy said...

They grow up way too fast. Don't they? She is gorgeous!

Hard list of questions.

I try to feel out the parents. If it feels good to me... to talk to them... I usually alow playdates and I stick around for a couple of minutes after dropping off.

Karen said...

What a beautiful little girl!

It's all instinct. How do you feel about the family she's staying with, riding in the car with, whose children she's playing with?

utmomof5 said...

Look out for the boys when she is a teenager, she is beautiful!!

What I do when my kids go to a friends house that I don't know is this.
*talk to the other mom on the phone and just tell her you are new to this playdate thing and you have a few questions. Then ask what you want to know.
*if I feel okay to leave them there I always go into the house before I leave them there and kind of get a feel for the house and any other siblings that are there. Like is it crazy and choitic with no rules or a discusting mess.
*Have a good talk with my child before they go about what is expected of them and how to handle a unusual situation. Make sure she can call home whenever she wants to about any question she has.
*Have a talk as soon as I pick them up about what they did and how they spent their time. Ask lots of questions.
*Most importantly--go with you gut instinct, if you don't feel comfortable with your daughter there then don't do it. Mom's intuition is a gift we are given are suppossed to use!!!

So there you go, you asked for and you got my 2 cents worth!!

Good Luck!!


KATE said...

Wow! First of all, she is gorgeous!
Maybe it has something to do with February 2003 babies, my Sam was born the end of Feb 2003 in Colorado. He was by far my tiniest baby & sickliest. Unfortunately, he was my cry/scream baby!
Anyhow, I'll tell ya what I think. But don't think for one minute, I know it all...I agree with Utmomof5 Go with your instincts! I promise, it's usually RIGHT on!
I just try to get to know the parents. Have a few playdates & invite the mom over too. If you're still not sure, do the nuetral location. During the winter, even tho I find it repulsive, we go to the McDonalds playland.
Don't be afraid to say what you feel to the mom. Make sure she knows about how you feel seatbelts & booster seats.
I can tell you that our few good friends, I am completely comfortable with & the new friends are always tuff! Good luck!

Joanna said...

She is soooo cute!!!

My family says I'm a smother mother. Growing up my folks never checked anything out and I always vowed that I wouldn't do that.
Go with your gut. If you can't stop struggling with it put it off - there's no need to rush things. None of my boys have done sleep overs. They get together with their friends and then they go their own way. I'm not the best person to give advice - sorry. But if you aren't at peace with something I would question why.

Steph said...

Your little girl is so sweet, I struggle with those same questions for my sweet kindergartner I trust my gut if it doesn't feel right I don't do it. I make sure to try not to be too over protective but sometimes it is hard.

Kami said...

What a beautiful girl, and what fun to see her growing up like that.

With my oldest I had fear in my heart the first time he was invited over to someone's house I didn't know. But I knew the parents from school a bit and just jumped in with both feet using my gut.


MamaGeek said...

Oh Wow GM, what a beautiful little girl. Sincerely. And born in Hawaii? How awesome is that.

I have the same questions as you my friend. The same questions ...

LaskiGal said...

What a doll! You mean, they grow up? I look at J at only 5 months and my heart aches to know it won't last long. I'm such a total sap . . . She is such a beautiful little lady!

As for your concerns, wow. I am right there with you. Misty (http://werestartingfromscratch.blogspot.com/) just had an interesting post about the whole trust/stranger issues. Really riveting discussion going on . . .

Maria said...

First of all, really cute pics. Secondly, that's a difficult question. I use to not worry about it. I guess I just thought everyone was normal like me. Now I worry more. One girl in my sons class invited the whole class to her house to a birthday party. The house smelled. The mother never introduced herself to me. My son asked to use their phone to call me and they said they didn't have one. I'd say, don't let the little ones until you know them very well. Just have them over your house until then. When the kids get a little older you can teach them to call you if something is weird there.

Lucille said...

I know I am not the FIRST to tell you - what a beautiful daughter you have!

To answer your questions - which oddly enough I've been wondering lately as well....

My daughter is 6 and she has only gone to people's houses without us in the last year. And they are only VERY good friends of the family that we know.

As for knowing if the family is OK - I say go with your gut. Moms have that sense and don't ever ever doubt it. IF something feels weird - make up an excuse and leave!

Environment - hmmm. Well get your children talking. About this and that and everything inbetween. My daughter comes home and it is like I was there at school with her. It isn't me drilling her as some parents have to do - she just enjoys sharing the details of her life with me! BTW - I never judge or comment if I HEAR her tell me so and so did this. I don't tell the other parents either. It is just b/w us. Obviously if it was something harmful I would speak up!

I think I could go on and on here and I don't want to hog the comment field!

So I'll just close by saying - GO WITH YOUR GUT. Talk to your children. Lead by example and they will follow your ways.

Be protective. Be over-protective. I am!

As for letting go - oh boy, I don't know that you ever really do. I know I haven't.

Hang in there!

onthegomom said...

She is sooooo cute! My only suggestion on the playdate, is talk to the mom on the phone - just to get to know her better. Go inside the house with your daughter just to get a feel for it, talk to your daughter when you pick her up. But above all go with your INSTINCT! It's quite powerful and shouldn't be ignored. Letting go is hard!!!!

Family Adventure said...

You never learn to stop worrying...ever!


jennwa said...

Your daughter is beautiful.

Those are hard questions that I struggle with everyday.I do not know if there is a way to know the answer to these questions.
I do not think you are being over protective. Because with somethings, once they are done, it changes the child forever.
With my small kids I join moms groups so I have an opportunity to know the moms well.

Crystal said...

I am running into this exact situation right now. My oldest is in preschool and is asking all the time to go over to her friends house. The other two little girls play together all the time, they both have older sisters and the mom's know each other. I have put her off telling her that I will talk to the other mother, but I am still just nervous to let her go. I think I trust the other mom, she volunteers all the time in the class and she already knows my daughter well. It just seems like a big step. I guess I have to let her do it sometime, I am just nervous.

Andrea said...

Thanks for the eye opener! Sometimes I forget about these important things, that shouldn't be avoided. I like the comments about going over the rules with your child and making sure they know they can call home if they feel uncomfortable. Also, I agree with ohmommy to use your instincts and your feelings for the family.

I almost cried scrolling down the photos. How sad it is they grow up so fast, but she is beautiful! She will be a teenager before you know it.

(BTW I read Cecily's blog)

desirae said...

I thought these were all great questions. (It took me 4 tries to get the comments loaded so I could read them.)We just had our very first playdate too (at our house, his mom stayed). Next week we have a playdate (at their house. I'm staying.) I have decided he can go alone to other houses when he's 20 (which is around the age he'll be allowed to drive, and date.).. I guess I'll let him stay alone when I feel comfortable. I think too what will go into my decision is how the other child acts. Do they act happy and well adjusted? There's one girl in his preschool class I have never seen smile once (in 5 months)!!! I just can't help but think, what's wrong at home there, that a 4/5 year old doesn't have something to smile about? I've also never heard her talk,(even when the teacher asks her something) even if I tell her hi, or tell her her hair looks nice.. All the other girls will go into huge conversations, about how their mom got their hair just so, etc (they are hilarious). I guess all you really can do is wait till you feel comfortable, trust your instincts, make sure your child knows what's ok and what's not (and that they should never be afraid to tell you if something happened that wasn't ok.) On second thought I've now decided to homeschool my child, keep them cut off from the world, and not let them go anywhere without me as companion until they are 35.

R Family of 4 said...

What a beautiful girl. They do grow up too fast dont they?

I wish I had the answers. When Hannah was that age I would usually go with her until I got comfortable with the family.

She is now 7 and I dont quite have the same relationship with all those she comes into contact with. I try and spend as much time at the school as I can so I can get to sort of know the family and siblings. But I think it all comes down to using your gut. There are some kids I do not want her hanging out with and so I dont. Beacuse she is only 7 and I am a bit of a contro freak ;-) I usually "push" playdates with kids/families I know/like/trust.

And who said labour and delivery was the hard part?

Good luck!