I don't want to go into that too much because I'm about to return to work, which always feels a little like going underground. We often refer to it as being in the trenches or reporting to the factory only to be released when the foreman tells us it's time to go home. I want to briefly talk about how wonderful my girl is.
Eliza will be starting a preschool/day care kind of program in September. She's a few months younger than the other kids in her class so the center's director asked me to bring Eliza by last week to make sure she'd fit into the class and be able to follow-along. At first Eliza clung to me, refusing to speak any words. The first word the director heard her say was "Dora" as we passed a Dora backpack in the cubby area.
We entered the classroom as the kids were putting on sunscreen. The director spoke to Eliza about putting on sunscreen to protect the skin and asked if Eliza wore sunscreen. Eliza nodded emphatically, said she always wore sunscreen to the pool, to the beach but she couldn't "go into the Dead Sea because the water is very, very salty."
I knew then that it would all go well. Eliza followed instruction, sat in the circle for story time (with a good deal of shushing from me), and even helped put toys away. When the teacher asked Eliza to introduce herself, Eliza's finger went around the circle asking every other child his or her name.
We went back to the center today to drop off our deposit and Eliza immediately asked "Can I go meet my friends now?"
We visited my mother over the weekend to celebrate my mother's birthday and Eliza's interaction with my autistic adult brother also was lovely and amazing. When I was young, my brother could pass for normal. However now, with his lobotomy standard haircut, coke bottle glasses and frequent seizure expressions, he is easily categorized as "different." Billy is also pretty tall, often doesn't make eye contact and doesn't interact in a regular way. When he first pressed into my mother's house in the middle of a coughing fit, I didn't blame Eliza for clinging to me and saying "I'm afraid of Billy."
I told her I didn't want to be afraid of Billy. When he came out of the bathroom and I said hello (ignored) and Eliza grinned and waved enthusiastically (ignored), I wondered why we'd gone through the trouble of visiting on his birthday in the first place. Billy didn't look at either one of us, bent in an odd position and farted loudly. Then he smiled and acknowledged our presence. Nothing like a good toot to get the party started.
Later, as I tickled Billy and Eliza jumped to my side, ready to tickle and tease, I suddenly got emotional. My daughter's kindness and tolerance is astonishing.
The day after Billy's party, I took Eliza to visit my mother's neighbor. This neighbor, who I'll call Karen, runs a small day care center out of her home. With a pool, seasaws, mini cars and mini-roller coasters, it's like candy land for kids. Eliza has come to know Karen's regulars. At one point, all the kids were clustered on the swings. One girl crossed too close to another kids swing and ended up on the ground crying. I picked up the crying child and Eliza immediately crossed to the kid who was swinging and said "You hurt her." Eliza wouldn't resume playing until she knew the other girl was alright. Her consideration was wonderful.
That's my girl. Less than three years old and looking out for everyone. I wanted to record some of this stuff so I won't forget. Years from now, when my daughter is a teenager screaming about how much she hates me, I want to come here and remember the person she really is and will be again.