SS woke up full of preschool party peppiness (PPP), getting her showered, dressed and out the door was not a problem. As usual, I was the problem. The kids had a gift exchange and parents were asked to bring a wrapped gift, for the same gender and age as their child. Again, why the gender segregation people? I shot myself on the foot when I selected between two items, a D*sney princess hair set, neatly packed in a perfect square box, and a duck backpack with a duck sponge and duck bath mitten inside. The smart move was the obviously girly gift, but my stubbornness knows no boundaries and I opted for the less gender specific gift. The shape of the gift mattered because I royally suck at gift wrapping. The girly gift was easy to wrap, instead, I struggled and broke a sweat trying to wrap the gift this morning.
But since SS had a grave case of PPP we managed to get out of the house in one piece, with SS happily clutching "Santa's gift" and singing about her "big girl school party." Today was not SS's usual school day, so we were to stay for about an hour, and thank G0d because that is as much as I can take of screaming two year olds these days. I was much better pre SS. I finally figured out where SS's new crying fits come from. She is surrounded by a pack of constantly crying two year olds. The thing is that at school she does not cry. Instead, I quietly watched my girl, and it hurt me to see how bewildered she was when the kids were wailing. In the past SS has mostly been sympathetic to kids crying. Only during the flight to Chicago did she seem mad by the three girls crying in front of us. This morning it was different, it was painful to watch SS's expression. The kids were behaving like kids their age should. SS is almost twice their age, while they are almost twice her size. She fits right in size wise, but developmentally is not a good fit. It appears that SS is doing what she can to get through the morning, then she falls apart when she comes home. It made us wonder if it reminds her of her time in the SWI, the only time she was exposed to a gaggle of crying kids. Given the way she reacts to a potty chair, if that is the case, it is not good for SS's emotional well being. We really need her to be with kids her own age.
I also realized that our daughter is a grifter. Our bad apple did not fall far from her parents' rotten tree. SS is drinking from a regular cup just fine. I knew this, because her clothes are not stained. However, at home SS keeps managing to spill when drinking out of regular cups. Then my fruit and vegetable crazy child won't touch those items at school. WTF? She went straight for the cookie and chips. That's fine by us, it was a party, but SS has yet to come across a grape she has not devoured. According to her teachers this is what she always does at school. They call her a carb girl. On the positive side I also realized that she knows the routine well, sits and listens, and requires little direction from her teachers. That is a big deal because a lot of the older kids were redirected a heck of a lot while I was there. SS has come a long way since the Halloween party, it's really comforting.
When it was time for the class to meet with Santa I thought about another down side to the Santa myth. SS had her picture taken with Santa just yesterday afternoon. That Santa was a lot heavier and a lot older than school Santa (the director's son). In an attempt to compromise with P I had decided to go along, BUT if SS asked any questions I would answer honestly. I think our daughter can enjoy Christmas without us building a relationship based on lies.* I should not have worried, because when it comes to getting a gift and having fun, SS is as willing to compromise her beliefs as we are.
After opening gifts it was time for the part time kids to go home and SS was not pleased. She gripped the door and would not let go. That led to a bit of a tantrum, but nothing I can't handle. Then as we neared the van, the stupid dogs on the house it was parked in front of attempted to jump the very low fence while barking aggressively. I had never seen dogs there before and was startled, but somehow felt they would not jump the fence (since they didn't on their first attempt). That's a big deal for me because I am terrified of dogs, ALL dogs. The things you forget when you have a child to look after. SS was already running on low and simply lost it. Her carseat was on the side closest to the house and she dug her face on my neck, screamed and was shaking. I had to place her on the front seat, but entering through the driver's side, drive down the road, hug her and then get her buckled up. P came through for us again and did a great job helping a teary SS calm down. I am really glad that although SS seems to be more attached to me, when she is at her lowest, she is deep down a Baba's girl, and her Baba always takes the time to make it better.
One of SS's OCD quirkiness, she (and we) will only enter the school using the handicapped ramp. When I get out of the car and when I pick her up she always reminds me to "go the right way Mama." Can't wait to see what this will turn into.
SS's dress was a gift from her So Cal grandmothers back in July. We love the way she looks in it, and kept her warm this morning (28 degrees). This was before the chain crying began.
I laughed when I realized that they placed SS at the front. All kids have their names on their assigned spaces.
SS posed for the required I love my gift picture, dumped the doll with me, and went after the boys who received cars as gifts. How I love this child.
* I am of course referring to OUR specific situation, our need to build trust with SS. Like it or not it becomes an issue later in life, and we need her to know that we have been truthful about how she came home.