The Nugget Chronicles: The Social Animal

Quick, name an activity that toddlers are probably pretty fond of doing.

Okay, all of you who immediately answered “pooping”, I know exactly where your heads are. To be fair, it is late at night (at the time of writing this).

No, I’m of course talking about napping.

Maybe “fond” is too strong of a word. However, napping is an important part of the toddler life cycle. After all, without napping, they don’t get enough brain development time. More to the point, without napping, parents don’t get that blissful half-hour or (slightly) more of quiet that is so important to them, which allows them to clean the house, or work on other projects, or, more likely, nap themselves. Either way, nap time is a pretty important time, and Nugget usually doesn’t have a lot of problems with it. It’s much like bedtime, where the need for sleep overpowers her, and she generally lets it take effect.

Well, this past weekend, we took a trip out East to visit friends and family of Mama on an extended weekend vacation. Yes, we flew, because we apparently figured out the super-duper-top-secret-you’ll-never-guess-this trick to make flying with a toddler somewhat palatable (for those playing at home, it’s being willing/able to cough up the extra dough for a seat for your child, and strapping their car seat into it). And, honestly, the first portion of time went pretty much as expected, if you take away the fairly creepy airport that we found ourselves flying to (and from, but that’s besides the point).

Anyway, everything went off the rails on Day 2 (which was really full day one, but, well, travel always throws me off). Day 2 was a chance for Mama to catch up with a long-time friend of hers, and for Nugget to spend time hanging out with a few kids, most of which were much older than her. She did a great job, and the other kids seemed to genuinely love spending time with her. It was absolutely awesome, as was her ability to eat as much ziti as a full-grown adult male. However, because there were people around, Nugget did not want to nap. This set the tone for the rest of the weekend, and shouldn’t have been a surprise.

See, back when Nugget was just a few months old, it was the New Year, and we had friends over to celebrate with us in a quiet way (not any different from non-Nugget New Year’s, to be honest). What happened then, and what continues to happen, is that, as long as there are other people around, Nugget will keep going. And going. And going. Andgoingandgoingandgoingandgoing.

Yeah, she’s a little bit social. And clearly extroverted, as she’s gaining energy from being around people. Meanwhile, her introverted father (yes, I AM introverted, despite my online presence and the things I do outside of the home) is just getting more and more tired out. Mind you, once we were able to wrangle her into the car, sleepiness hit her like a wave, and she was generally out before we had traveled too far, but she is just the type to keep gaining energy from being around people. This was the perfect theme for the weekend, as there were people for her to leach energy from the rest of the way through (and she even extended it to the plane ride home, because why the heck not?).

Honestly, this is one of the things I absolutely love about Nugget, and one of the things that I sort of wish I could emulate. It’s also why I’m so glad that we started putting her in classes (remember, she doesn’t even turn 2 until next Monday). If left to my own devices, Nugget and I would spend almost every day sitting at home, not being around people. Sure, we’d go out and see things, but there wouldn’t be as much of the social element at play. Classes means that she gets to spend time with other kids, and gets to absorb even more information about the world that she’s found herself in. It’s amazing, and it fills my heart with so much joy to watch her be this gregarious little person, running around without a care because she knows that she’s safe and protected and loved.

Do I wish she took more naps around people? Sure, but that’s only because I’d like to sneak one of my own. All told, I’d rather she keep making friends and being “out there”.

After all, that means other people get to hear her stories, too.

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