Monday, August 31, 2009

A Preschooler and an Equestrian

Liana and I went upstate for a lovely trip. We came back, and I promptly got sick and sat like a lump for days, failing to return phone calls or engage in any of the planned pre- preschool activities. And then, toddlerhood came to a close, and Liana officially became a preschooler. Well, sort of. She had a two hour day at the school today. First full day tomorrow. She clearly loves it. She is so ready to have her world expanded. But she asked me if I was going to go to the spa while she was at preschool. I said no, I was going to go to work. And she laughed and said “No mommy! You go to work when I go to Beatriz’s house.” So I guess in spite of all of our productive discussions about preschool, she does not realize that this new reality actually replaces the old reality.

Or perhaps she thinks I’ve retired and that I’m going to dedicate my life to spa treatments. Who knows?

Upstate was great. Liana does not like bugs. She was unimpressed by woods and mountains. I tried to drag her on nature walks, and she demanded that I remove ants from the path. However, I discovered yet another Liana-talent.

We all know how she loves animals. And the first thing she announced when we arrived was “I’m going to ride a big giant horse.” Awww. How sweet.

I called and arranged a pony ride. I suspected that we might get close, pet the pony, cry a bit, and then talk about how it is ok to be afraid. Ummmm…..

But Liana spoke the truth. She did ride a “big, giant horse.” Daily.
At first she was a little afraid of his face. But she had no fear on top of him. She rode Fresno as if this is something she does everyday. The F train. The 33 bus. Oh. She also rode Comanche, who was a pony, while she was in daycamp and I was at the spa.
But we will never forget Fresno, the big giant horse. Liana’s rite of passage, during he last week of toddlerhood.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

“Hold on tight mommy. Otherwise you could fall down and then you’ll be sad,” my daughter advises me as we sway back and forth on the standing room only bus.

Otherwise? Did she really say otherwise?

Passengers smile at her. She chatters. Looking out the window, she says “Look mommy! That cloud looks like a big rabbit!”

Mommy, if you see a dandelion, will you pick it for me?

Yes, Liana. If I see a dandelion I will pick it and give it to you.

And if you see a white one, will you pick it? And can I blow on it? Can I make a wish?

Yes Liana. If I see a white dandelion, you can pick it and blow on it and make a wish.

Mommy, I’m going to wish that you get me a surprise, ok?

Passengers giggle. At least two or three times a week on the bus, someone asks me how old she is. When I say 2 ½, they always gasp in disbelief.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Liana got a new puzzle last weekend. She loves puzzles, and can put together a 24 piece puzzle with a little help the first time or second time, and then she can put it together by herself. I am awed by her visual and spatial orientation. Certainly not one of my skills, but for her, it is second nature.

In any case, the puzzle had pictures of farm animals. We put the puzzle together the first time, and talked about the animals. There is a cow, a sheep, a chicken, a duck, a pig. They all live on farms.

Later, we were talking about the puzzle. Was there an elephant in the puzzle? No! Elephants live on the savannah! Was there a dolphin? No! Dolphins live in the ocean! Was there a monkey? No! Monkeys live in the rainforests or the jungles! Was there a cow? Sure! There was a cow! Cows live on farms!

That was fun for a while, and gave us lots of content for a nice discussion.

Later, Liana was playing with the puzzle by herself, and I was sitting at my computer. Liana finished the puzzle herself, and called me over to admire her work. She was looking at the puzzle, and something clicked. She got all excited, and told me to “Stay right here, ok? Don’t go away. Stay right here!”

She disappeared into her room for a few minutes, and then reappeared with a book. It was a “baby” touch and feel board book, with pictures of baby animals and their names and they had fur or feathers or scales to touch. I had not pulled that book off her bookshelf in 8 or 10 months. Maybe even a year. It was a book she had, in my mind, outgrown.

She had already flipped through the book, and had opened to the farm animal page.

Look Mommy!!!!! Farm animals!!!! See???? A cow! A sheep! A goat! A baby chick! See????

We looked at the animals in the book, and then compared them to the animals in the puzzle. We then turned at looked at the other pages in the book, and there were some of the same categories that we had been talking about during our discussion. Ocean animals. Jungle animals. Pets. Polar animals.

Liana is a city girl. She has never been to a farm. The only goats and sheep and cows she has ever seen are in the petting zoo. But something in her head went click, and she really understood. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she had filed away the information in that book, and when she thought about the puzzle, she made the connection from so long ago, and went to find the relevant page!

I love being a mom. Watching Liana learn about the world, and sharing her discoveries is so amazing.