Our girl is 15 months, so we’re not thinking much about schools yet, though putting things in her mouth (which others just mentioned) is a big concern. . . for my wife anyway. Actually the thing she puts in her mouth most is her hands and my wife was afraid its a sign of emotional distress (I think she read that in a Chinese parenting book and a Taiwanese lady told me that Taiwanese people react that way to it). But I’m not Taiwanese and I think that’s nonsense. As a westerner I’ve been taught that oral fixation is just a normal stage of childhood development, which seems reasonable. Plus, she’s obviously a very healthy, happy child, so if she wants to suck on her hands I don’t see it as a big deal. However, my wife’s second reason for being concerned about the hand-sucking is slightly more rational – she worries about all the germs she’ll eat by playing on the playground then licking her hands. Oh well. So I do my best to pull her hands out of her mouth. No biggie.
One issue that I’ve thought about lately is bed arrangements. We’ve got a large bed and still have our daughter sleeping between us. I like it that way. While it means less spousal intimacy and less ability to sprawl out across the bed, I’m at work all day so I cherish every moment with my child, even if its just lying there sleeping beside her. I think she really enjoys being so close to us also, especially when she wakes up in the morning and then wakes us up to talk and play.
On the other hand, I’d feel guilty sticking her in a crib by herself (though my parents apparently feel we should have done that many months ago) with bars like a jail. I think she’d be lonesome and feel less wanted and close. Sure, she’d adapt, but why force her to adapt to living in a cage by herself. Yes, eventually she’ll need to, but why at such an early age?
How about you? What age do you feel is right for a child to start sleeping alone? If you’ve already kicked him/her out of your bed, wasn’t it hard at first? Didn’t he/she beg to come back in bed with you? Didn’t you feel a little cruel?