Thursday, January 15, 2009

Follow the Leader

Ada turns two in a little over a week, and she's well aware of it. She's been full-on two for quite some time, in every sense but weight and chronology. Pre-academics aside, she speaks in full sentences. She's a sponge with a chatty older sister and mommy with healthy reading habits.

Yesterday, Ada had her informal 24-month developmental screening with our Parents as Teachers Parent Educator. After Ada scored 60 out of 60 in every category, the Parent Educator said, "I see no cause for concern." She's somewhat lacking in sense of humor, perhaps. Or maybe it's just insufficient enthusiasm for my child. (Who's seeking impartial professionalism here? Not I, Super Fly!) In her defense, however, she did suggest that we check out some book about parenting a strong-willed child. And that really does describe my Adelaide.

She is an opinionated little girl. She knows exactly what she wants to wear and when she wants to wear it. She knows which toys/stuffed sheep/blankets she needs to be carrying at any given time. She knows what video she simply must watch on Friday night. (I know, I know, I am a lousy mother.) Try to impose your own will on this child at your peril; I've done just that and experienced temper tantrums lasting a full hour.

But she finally, finally, finally is willing to (occasionally) separate from her mother! Ada has always been a fantastic sleeper, bless her heart. But she's been a bit . . . clingy when she's awake. That's a massive understatement, by the way.

In September, she started a Kids Day Out program 2 mornings a week. The first two weeks were difficult, but since then she's been increasingly excited to go. She loves her teachers, her classes, the whole structure and routine of the gig. She gets frustrated on the days when we take Ellie to school and she doesn't get to go herself. She's even attempted to blend into Ellie's classroom at drop-off, perhaps with the hope that no one will notice the interloper. She might have a shot, actually. She's a bit taller than the little person in Ellie's class, and she'd probably keep up academically too. There'd be a bit of a problem with sitting still, though.

Despite her happiness with her "school" experience, today was the first day that Ada has not wanted to leave with me afterward. I opened the classroom door this morning and was met by an overwhelming barrage of motion and noise. A herd of tiny people ran, yelling their heads off, directly at me. I froze, and they soon reversed course.

The room is set up like a U, with the door to the hallway near the top of one arm and the door to the interior bathroom/changing area at the top of the other arm. Soon the motion resolved itself into pattern. The children were touching the bathroom door, taking a deep breath, then running full steam for the hallway door, hollering all the way, where they're repeat the process. Deep breath, run and yell, touch door.

One of the teachers had stepped out for a moment to pick up her own child from another classroom, and she returned as I stood, ignored and befuddled after an initial and exuberant greeting from my usually eager-to-leave child, holding a tiny backpack and fuzzy scarf.

"It looks like they're playing a game of follow-the-leader."

It did, indeed, though I hadn't noticed it before. And guess who was the leader? Once I was really paying attention to the group dynamics, I saw my little brown-haired pixie leading three blond children on a mad adventure. Deep breath, run and yell, touch door, repeat. True leadership.

Where on earth does she get it?

Notes for posterity: Ada knows her numbers (though not always in order), letters, phonics, colors, and shapes. It's unreal and a little silly, sort of like a party game. When she says "trampoline," it sounds like "jumping beans," which I love. And when Ellie says, "banana," it sounds like "boiana," which I also love. Today we unsuccessfully practiced playing hide and seek for ages. They are a delight!

Unrelated note. Why is it that air conditioners never fail in 75 degree weather in October? And heaters tend to conk out in the middle of the night on the coldest day of the season? Not that that's happening right now to us or anything. (Note: we just replaced our A/C in August.)


Orange said...

Good news on the kid front.

Yeah, I know someone in the Twin Cities whose furnace conked out after midnight a couple days ago, with subzero temps outside.

Tracey said...

Whatever books you find on opinionated kids, can you share the titles with me? My own A is...well...a handful and then some is probably an understatement. We've been in the terrible threes for awhile now and she is just driving me nuts.

So sorry about the furnace! We consistently have our A/C go out at least 2 times per summer, but I hope the heat stays with us. My office is FREEZING right now!

Sarahlynn said...

Orange, that's awful. My sister (whose car wouldn't start in today's cold and missed an important doctor's appointment) said that she just kept telling herself all afternoon/evening, "At least I'm not standing on the wing of a plane in the middle of the Hudson River." I guess that does put things into perspective.

Tracey, I probably won't look up the book. Right now I'm feeling like if someone breathes on me I'll scream and freak out on them. I don't even need something as weighty as a straw to break my camel's back . . . Besides, the parent educator said that I'm doing a good job with her. OK, then!

But I have to admit that I like having a clean bill of health for the furnace and a brand-spanking-new A/C. I enjoy reliable heat and cooling!

Krupskaya said...

I have to say, Ada sounds and AWFUL LOT like Maia did at that age...reading this just sounded very, very familiar.

And Orange, do we know the same people? Because a friend of mine had a furnace die in the Twin Cities last week, too.

Sarahlynn said...

Krupskaya, I can't tell you how much I appreciate that comment!!!