Wednesday, June 12, 2013

There is No Life I Know

E is known at day care as “the dreamer.” When I pick her up in the afternoon, the teacher, Sarah, always tells me stories like, “We asked her to take off her shoes and get ready for snack time, but you know how she is.” It’s not said in a judgmental way. Sarah chuckles and describes E wandering around with one shoe off, one shoe on, talking about flowers she’s seen or going to the beach. “She’s just, you know, in her own world,” she laughs.

If someone else said that, I’d probably have an Uncle Buck moment… I don't think I want to know a six-year-old who isn't a dreamer, or a silly-heart. And I sure don't want to know one who takes their student career seriously. I don't have a college degree. I don't even have a job. But I know a good kid when I see one. Because they're ALL good kids, until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they're no good. You so much as scowl at my niece, or any other kid in this school, and I hear about it, I'm coming looking for you!

But I laugh and say, “Yep, that’s her.” Her day care is amazing, and I know what Sarah means. E is sometimes “somewhere else.” She has incredible focus and will play at the same activity for as long as 45 minutes, pouring water in cups, putting lids on yogurt containers, but she also has this incredible and early-developed ability to imagine and remember things.

The other morning, after a rough night’s sleep, she woke up really upset and refused to get ready for day care, because she wanted to ride in the stroller. I told her that we couldn’t go, and she had a meltdown. Trying to come up with a quick solution, I put her on my lap and bounced her gently. I said, “Let’s pretend we’re riding in the stroller, while I get you dressed.” I pointed out imaginary scenes, “Hey, it’s the pond! I see a duck!” and “OH, there’s a dog in the park!” I thought she was ignoring me – she had quietly settled into my arms and was groggily staring off into the distance. So, I stopped and focused on getting her dressed. Then she sat up straight, pointed at the ceiling and said, “Mama! The blue sky!!”

It was like her little imagination clicked on. Sarah said that at an early age (I remember at about 9-10 months old), she would put toys together – like put a pig on a car and say, “Pig! Ride!” And yesterday, she was absolutely thrilled to pretend a toy duck was going down a slide from a picture in her truck book. I asked if she wanted to go down the slide too. I thought she might try to climb into the book, to literally get on the tiny slide. She reached for it at first. Then she stopped, put her arms in the air, threw her head back, put her legs up, and said “Weeeeeee!!!!” The bed faded away, replaced by a bright yellow slide under an afternoon sun, wind flying through her hair, blue sky above. I even felt the sudden rush of panic that I get when I have to catch her unexpectedly at the bottom. How fun!

Today, she is 17 months old. How can she imagine so much, being so young? I’m unbelievably proud of her, and I also feel a huge responsibility to develop this ability. Right now, it’s just fun – she takes the blue bucket (the same one we used to give the cricket a ride) and uses it as a hat. She pulls it over her head completely, so she can’t see, and runs around the apartment. I imagine that, in the bucket, pretty blue light bounces around as it shines through the partially-transparent plastic. She’s hypnotized by it as she twirls in wide circles. I laugh and chase after her, trying to prevent disaster – a crash into the table, corner-cupboard, TV stand.

But someday it will save her. It will make her more and more creative – and smart. And when life gets to be too much, she will dream and imagine about how to make it better. And she’ll do it!

Our conversation this morning:
“E, are you beautiful?”
“Are you smart?”
“Can you do anything you want?”

It’s true! And I love you!


Kim Gifford said...

Love, love, love this. Beautiful writing, beautiful girl, beautiful Momma!

AdminG said...

Thanks, Kim!!