We were at our local playgroup this morning where our eldest is used to going and where she has been engaging in solitary play alongside other children for over a year. This morning was the first time I really noticed a difference; she was beginning to interact. I think this is quite a scary time for a mother, it’s one of the first steps to letting your child go. She is only just two, it seems so young, however, it is something that she has to learn. I suppose it’s something all children must learn, the idea of dealing with other children and sharing toys, but this morning it struck me, it is also a learning curve for me. My instinct when I saw another child take her dolly from her was to rush over and snatch it right back. Same as when a little boy took her sun hat from her head in the outdoor area, I wanted to tell him ‘no, don’t be mean!’ and give it back to my baby. There were several occasions where I just wanted to scoop her up in my arms, give her a cuddle and tell her it would all be ok and part of me knew she’d be safer at home. But I was learning. I was learning to sit back and see how she would react to a given situation, I was learning to watch from the side-lines and not intervene. Unless my daughter was in any real danger, I had to train myself to stay where I was, no matter how much it hurt me to see her upset I had to learn when it was ok to act and when it wasn’t. It was one of the longest and hardest mornings of my life, yet also one of the most rewarding. She was happy! At home afterwards she talked about how she liked playgroup, how she had wrapped her dolly up in a blanket and put her to bed, how she had played on the slide and how she had sung songs. At one point during the morning I saw her actually playing with some other girls on the slide and she also shared a bike with a little boy. All these new experiences are necessary yet terrifying and I am learning how to deal with it; how to deal with my baby not being a baby anymore, how to deal with her potentially being upset by other children and how to deal with her learning how to interact with them. Of course she is still very young and of course when she calls ‘mummy’, I will be there. But she is growing up and developing from my baby into a child; a child who will speak to others, a child who will play with others, a child who will laugh and cry and hurt and sing, a little person with her own character who, while helped along by us will also have to do things by herself. And while she is learning I am learning too, right by her side as she develops and grows, and hoping and praying every day that she’ll be alright.