Building a people-rich environment for A-

A- has been learning people’s names and how to interact with them, which is probably the key benefit of taking her on these trips. Lola has had some quality grandparenting time, even chasing after a delighted A- and exchanging kisses. The staff reward A- with lots of attention when she calls them by name. It took a few days for A- to warm up to Lolo Frank, but now she’s excited to greet him too. She really likes being able to call people by name. She lights up so much.

I wonder what the equivalent thing could be in Toronto. I like that there’s a large group of people here who can regularly, happily interact with A- whenever their lives intersect. Maybe if we visited W-‘s family more often? Hacklab was kinda like that for me, but I don’t know how age-appropriate an electronics-heavy maker space would be (A- isn’t quite good yet at washing her hands), and the relationships are different. Maybe I’ll just have to build the kind of playgroup my sister had with “hockey cousins” (her former hockey teammates plus their kids). Warmer weather means more time at playgrounds, so maybe I can work on socializing. Long-term plan: make friends now so that I can invite people over next winter. It’ll be easier once A- gets into social play, of course, but it’s good to practice before then.

Maybe I can start posting in the neighbourhood parent group and invite people out. It’s nice to spend time with other parents/caregivers. We can introduce each other, interact, share snacks, and watch out for each other’s kiddos.

I’d go to the drop-in centres more, too, but A- gets a bit antsy. We’ll keep trying. A- might be okay with checking out library story times. Hmm…

I can also pick up another tip from Kathy and start memorizing people’s nametags or asking people’s names. The librarians don’t wear individual nametags. I can’t remember if the supermarket cashiers do. Maybe something like, “We see you all the time! I’m Sacha. This is A-. A- is learning to have lots of fun recognizing people by name. May we ask your name so we can try to remember it?”

Hmm… I wonder what else I can do to build her that kind of people-rich environment. Daycare is one of the things people use for that kind of socialization, but then I miss out on the fun. :) It’ll just have to be regular visits to places like the subway station, Riverdale Farm, and the Science Centre, a few meetups, plus more courage and attention on my part.

Maybe after the hundredth time I ask the name question, it will feel more natural. Still introverted, but willing to make an effort in case this is something A- finds fun and useful. If you happen to be in Toronto, please feel free to help me figure this out! :)