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Who knew a leisurely Memorial Day party could turn into the third degree about my 21-month-old daughter's summer plans?

BBQs with friends and family-- it's always great to catch up--but this weekend I was asked a lot about my child and her summer plans. "What classes is she enrolled in?" When I was 21 months of age, I was not going to several classes a week, so it never occurred to me that my child should be.

So when I'm asked "What will Aurora be doing this summer?"--I'm a bit flummoxed. "Um..." I say, trying to think of something. "We haven't mapped out all our plans yet." But I really know what she'll be doing. She'll be eating ice cream, making her face a sticky mess, and probably have a few wipe-outs on the sidewalk as she masters her tricycle.

I'm fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with Aurora, and I know that I'm raising a bright little lady. She sings her ABCs constantly and has demonstrated her smarts in so many other ways as well. She has a playgroup, so she spends time with other little munchkins, which gives me faith that she's getting enough socialization. 

But I fear she may need more because I'm being tormented by the "Keeping Up with the Joneses" mentality. My mom assures me that I didn't go to classes until I was older, but that was then. Aren't all little ones taking swimming lessons before they're two? It sure seems like it to me! So now besides fretting over the cut-throat world of pre-school, I now get to stress over pre-pre-school!

That's not to say that I'm against classes--because I'm not. We go to a little kids' gym twice a week and Aurora loves it. And I'm not indicting my friends who do participate in lots of classes, because I know for a fact that they spend tons of quality time with their kids. But I'm just not sure Aurora needs art classes just yet. After all, she's still tentative with finger paint and has a tendency to paint everything but the paper when she uses a brush.

Am I depriving her? I fear that I'm already blowing her education. Will I pay for this down the road when she's bawling her eyes out because she didn't get into her first-choice college? I guess that remains to be seen. But for now, I'll concentrate on keeping that angelic face smiling; because to my own surprise, I'm actually pretty good at it.

Karyn Bryant is a television personality who's hosted shows on networks such as CNN, TNT, VH1, and MTV. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Wade, and daughter, Aurora. For more from Karyn, click here.

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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Nicole May 30, 2008, 3:27 PM

In my humble opinion, you need to do whats best for her. My oldest son, 4, is very social, very outgoing and gets easily bored. He is signed up for classes all summer. My middle, Luci, is 30 months and she is signed up for nothing. She has good days and bad days and is very attached to me and I am not going to force her to go to something. She is content to write her name over and over with colored pencils. So, if she does anything, it will be a trip to Target, for more colored pencils and paper, and maybe a popcorn. Do whats right for your family…and you will create a thriving little girl.

Anonymous August 20, 2008, 2:43 AM

You’re good. Don’t worry about it. Want your kid to learn a language? Pull out Muzzy for 20 minutes a day. Swimming lessons? Its time for a trip to the public pool. Does California really need more spoiled kids? My friend is a nanny out there, and she takes one of her charges (a 3 year old) to a $400 a pop yoga class twice a week. You know what that little girl does? Runs around. You know what she could do at home that wouldn’t cost 3200 dollars a month? Run around.

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