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Posts Tagged ‘preschoolers’

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The Boo has always been reluctant to tell us about school. If we ask him directly, “What happened at school?” he will make a game of saying “I don’t know” or “It’s a secret.” Even when I try to be sly about it and ask open-ended questions like “Who brought snack?” or “Who was class leader?” he will often dodge or shrug. Ah, the joys of being four. You have so little power that you get very creative about wielding what little you have.

But last week, something changed. We were having lunch at home and I had been talking about something that was sad (I think). Then he looked at me with the Face of Seriousness and said, “I cried at school today Mama. For real.”

A miracle occurred and I kept a straight face (the Face of Seriousness is somehow very funny to me). Then I said, “Really? Tell me more about that.” (Yes I really did speak like a therapist — it was the first prompt that came to me and I was desperate to keep the conversation going.)

“Tinkerbell (not her real name) told me to stay in the house.”

“Huh. Why did she say that?”

“She had to go shopping. I wanted to go with her but she said to stay in the house and that hurt my feelings.”

Here I should explain that Tinkerbell is his best buddy at school, and the first kid he has had a deep connection with. They are so close that people make jokes about them getting married. For real.

We talked a bit more about the House Incident, finished our lunch, cleared our places and had time to play before rest time. Then he piped up again, with another Serious Face.

“Mama, I’m worried about kindergarten.”

“Why are you worried, sweetheart?”

“I don’t want to be away from you for a long time. And I won’t be able to be
with Tinkerbell.”

Yikes. A year and a half of radio silence and now two big emotional bombs in the space of an hour. I guess this is what They refer to as growth happening in fits and starts.

“Well honey, you won’t go to kindergarten for a long time. And it’s true you probably won’t be with Tinkerbell, but you can still play with her sometimes and be her friend. The other thing is, you’ll meet new kids, and some of those kids will become your friends. ”

He thought about that for a bit and asked, “Will my teachers be there?”

Lordy. He really is taking after me in the emotional attachment department. “No, you will have different teachers. But I bet they will be really nice just like your teachers are now.”

We continued in this vein for a while, with him worrying and me reassuring. I guess he’s making up for lost time — and on the whole, I’d rather have a kid who talks to me than one who clams up.

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 Sunday morning, as most mornings since Christmas, you ask me, “Do you want to build a power circuit, Mama?” You mean you want to play with your Snap Circuit set, undoubtedly your most favorite toy ever, and the first plaything that has held your interest for long stretches. 

Naturally, I say yes. I would love to build a power circuit, which one do you want to build?

Sunday afternoon, as always, is prime bath time, but lately you’ve been resisting the whole getting clean in the tub thing. So I have a strategy in place. 

“Would you like to clean your bath toys?” 

You are excited about this idea because it involves a spray bottle. I fill it with Special Bath Toy Cleaning Liquid (water, a squirt of Dawn, plus the “magic ingredient” of a few shakes of salt). You quickly decide you should be naked for your task. Once that’s achieved you set to work, then shift to running experiments (you’ve been watching a lot of Bill Nye the Science Guy and listening to Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants pretty much nonstop.). 

Later you decide that you should  step out of the tub, put a towel over your head, and yell, “chemical reaction” over and over. Eventually, we wash your hair and body, and I still have to coax you away from your toy cleanin/science experiments over an hour after we started. 

Monday morning brings a big decision: what to bring for Show and Share. You had settled on your baby monitor because you wanted to see what would happen if you turned it on at school. At the last minute, you switch to a Lego-like vehicle you call “Katy” after the protagonist of Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton, your current favorite book. 

Afternoon snack time at home is a good time to slyly extract information about your school day. I inquire about Show and Share and you tell me your friends asked if Katy was a storm trooper. Then you tell me you said yes.

Tuesday morning school prep goes off without too much strife, though I have to turn off the giant piano you got for Christmas to get you to put your socks and boots on. I consider relocating the giant piano. 

We read The Lorax before your rest time. You love the part where the sludge from the Sneed factory goes into the pond. I decide not to press the point that this is a very bad development for the humming fish, because you love the book so much. 

You emerge from your afternoon rest time in a state I can only describe as highly emotional. You are whiny and want me to carry you everywhere and burst into tears when you have trouble selecting a cartoon. I am flummoxed. Grammie texts me about coming over early for book club and I say yes please, now would be great thank you.

As I prep to host what you call “the ladies” you hang out with Grammie and “help” me make brownies and spinach dip. When I change from loungewear into real pants and a more presentable Tshirt/sweater combo, you declare that I look great for the ladies. 

Daddy puts you to bed as the ladies arrive, but summons me when there is a crisis involving a crying jag. It turns out that Katy, the Lego-like toy you took to Show and Share, is missing a part. This is a crisis because you sleep with Katy and she has to have the right parts to protect her. You are also begging to come say goodnight to the ladies. I locate the part on the floor and fix her up for you. You beg again to come downstairs. I say no, again, knowing how a trip downstairs will rile you up, and promise that you can meet them another time. I give you bunches of kisses, and Katy blows kisses to me as Daddy starts reading the Katy book to you.

One of the ladies brings a play tent her kids have outgrown. I set it up in your play area after the ladies leave. In the morning you immediately crawl in and declare yourself to be the queen of the castle (maybe because it’s pink and purple?). Later you refer to yourself as the Prince of the Morning Pajamas. Then you take the tent poles apart and collapse it so you can “get into the attic.”

We have time before school to read the Lorax, which has knocked  Katy off the current favorite book pedestal. We pause for a discussion about why the brown Bar-ba-loots have crummies in their tummies and what it’s like to not have enough to eat. 24 hours after hearing the book for the first time, you listen to the pollution messages with a look of concern.

And that, my friends, is what life is like with the Boo. 

 

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We recently took the Boo on a weeklong road trip to see family in Michigan. I’d been apprehensive about long stretches of car time with a 3.5-year-old, but for the most part he was a fantastic traveler. Here are the highlights:

You requested this song so many times Mama and Daddy got sick of it.

You slept in three houses and one cabin in the space of a week. You slept the best in the cabin — a few miles from Lake Huron, no water, no electricity. You slept the worst the final night, when you were sick and overtired and had just met three of Mama’s coolest cousins. 

You attended a party with too many family members to list here. You jumped right in to play with kids who were many years older than you, and enjoyed playing with a giant Jenga set. 

You were introduced to a Magic Eight-Ball. You kept asking it if you needed to pee.

You visited the Henry Ford Museum, where your favorite things were sitting in the driver’s seat of a giant steam locomotive and watching the toy trains go around and around their track. You were so tired from fighting a cold that Daddy had to carry you most of the time, but even so, you didn’t want to leave. 

You held the youngest member of the family, briefly, with a fair amount of help. 

You met roughly seven dogs, and after some angst you decided they were all okay. 

You chowed down on homemade puris — the only new food you tried on the trip. 

You were carried into a chicken coop to take a freshly laid egg from a nest,  and we brought it home safely. The next morning, we cracked it open and compared it to a store-bought egg. You declined to taste it when Mama cooked it up for you. 

You ran free in front yards, back yards, in and out of back doors, and down country roads. 

You loved playing with the sand at the tiny beach at the cabin. You also liked watching Daddy skip rocks. 

You enjoyed a meal at the Black Lake Golf Club, where you dined on corn chips and fries. 

You enjoyed peeing outside at the cabin, and you got really good at it. 

You helped Daddy wash the bugs off the car the day after we got home. 

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The officiant at rest.

Yesterday, the Boo wanted to know what getting married meant. I told him that when you love someone very much, you might want to stay with them forever. And if you do, you can ask them if they want to marry you. And if they say yes, you get married. 

This morning, he said he wanted to marry me. 

I said yes, and then we set about finding an officiant. He asked his stuffed tiger, but it said no. Fortunately, the hippo he asked next agreed to perform the ceremony. 

After some very brief vows, the hippo declared us to be married. Then the Boo said, “Now we need to get all married up!” As it turns out, that means that you exchange lots of kisses on various part of your faces. But the kisses only count as kisses if you pop your mouth open really wide like a fish after you give them. 

Shortly after that, he said it was time to get unmarried. We achieved this by taking the kisses off with a special sort of drill. He said it wouldn’t hurt. It didn’t, maybe because I couldn’t even see the drill. 

I negotiated to keep one kiss. 

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We spent Thanksgiving with my family in LA. Herewith, the highlights of the Boo’s first West Coast encounter.

You did very well on the flights, though it must be said the extra attention from the Southwest flight attendants was very helpful. As was the iPad loaded with Caillou videos.

You glommed onto your Unk almost as soon as you saw him. Within a week, you were asking for your Auntie when you woke up from naps and dancing a little greeting jig for her. She danced right along with you.

You wanted to know if we were still in LA every time with left Unk and Auntie’s house.

You saw Frozen, Cars, and The Little Mermaid for the first time, and joined your cousins in the traditional post-screening dance parties. You kept asking for the “build a snowman movie” for the rest of the trip.

You followed your girl cousins around the house, prompting one of them to complain a bit about your puppy-dog ways. A few days later, they were reading books to you.

You got creamed by one high-swinging cousin. After that, you were very careful to give her a wide berth whenever she was on the swing — and she stopped swinging to play with you on the playhouse slide.

You ate meals very nicely both with the family and at restaurants. There may have been chocolate chips involved.

You adjusted to the new time zone within 24 hours, and were willing to sleep on the floor at night as long as you got to sleep on your cousin’s bed for naps. Once back home, you started lobbying for a big bed almost immediately by complaining about the bars on your toddler bed.

You learned how to eat a Popsicle, thanks to your cousins and your Unk, who responded to your confusion with, “Look at them and do what they,re doing.”

You saw Dolphins herding fish to shore.

You took such a shine to your grandpa-in-law (you let him pick you up!) that he volunteered to be your surrogate grandpa since both of yours are gone.

You were fascinated by the ocean, waves, surfers, and sand at Venice Beach. A big wave surprised you and knocked you on your butt in the 64-degree water, but once you got over the shock you wanted to go right back in. You grabbed handfuls of sand over and over and wanted to take some home — this, despite being reluctant to touch it at school.

You began shouting “mine!” and “I want to do it myself!” after a few days with your cousins.

You also began poking your cousins after a few days, and began following pokes with, “Time out?” and a grin. So much for that disciplinary tactic.

You occasionally asked to go home, usually when you were tired or hungry.

You did not miss your toys, probably because it was so warm you went outside as soon as you finished breakfast and had to be coaxed in after dark on more than one occasion.

You learned the word “thankful” because of the family’s suppertime thankfulness tradition. Once, you said you were thankful for school, another time, for Mama. Back at home, you’re responding to mealtimes by saying, “I want to say something” and then saying what you’re thankful for.

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