22 October 2009

Mama Bear Eats Suzie Applewood

When Charis was 18 months old, thw two of us were invited to a tea party. It was a tea party with real tea, real scones and finger sandwiches, and real, antique, heirloom china. I spent the whole time terrified Charis would drop the irreplaceable cup on the priceless saucer and I'd spend the next dozen years trying to track down a duplicate. There were only three families there that day--mine, which consisted of me and my 18 month old; a mother with three girls between the ages of 4 and 8; and a mother (the hostess) with twin 3 year old girls. The tea portion of the outing went well--Charis miraculously did not break anything--and then all of the girls scampered off to the next room over to play. After they'd played for a few minutes, I stuck my head in to make sure Charis wasn't drawing on the walls or something. She was not drawing on the walls, but she was sitting sweetly by herself watching the older girls play, and I heard one of the twins say to her, "You can't play with us. We're BIG girls. We don't like you. You're too little. Go away."

Well, for the first time in her precious little life, my baby girl was being mistreated by another kid, and the Mother Bear in me wanted to reach over and tear this three-year-old limb from limb, because that's what Bears do. That'll teach you to mess with my kid. Being the grownup I am, though, I refrained from issuing bodily harm to the toddler and instead tried to very gently let her know that Charis was pretty much a baby and merely fascinated by the older girls. Then I smacked her upside the head.

Oh, but I wanted to.

I still have a few hard feelings towards that little girl (because I am such a mature and forgiving person), and I will NEVER forget how much I wanted to scratch her eyes out for being mean to my baby. She was only two and a half feet tall--I probably could've taken her. But time marches on, and I didn't think about this incident very much.

Until we met stupid Suzie Applewood.

She has already called my Charis "silly," and told her she doesn't want to be friends with her, which made Charis very sad. And, not that I'm bitter or anything, but even though Suzie Applewood's mother is one of the head honcho PTA people, I have never once seen Suzie dressed according to the dress code--and apparently, this is just overlooked. I guess leadership has its perks. I was very thankful the day Charis was moved from sitting next to Suzie Applewood to sitting at an entirely different table--I hoped Charis would move on, make other friends, and forget about Suzie Applewood. Honestly, we've been without a Suzie Applewood incident for a while, and I thought things had gotten better.

But this morning, we sat waiting in the drop off line, and suddenly, Charis couldn't get her bag quickly enough. "Mom!! Can I go with them? Please? Can you let me out?" I looked, and there was Suzie Applewood and her mother and sibling. Charis wanted desperately to walk into school with them. I took a deep breath, told Charis I couldn't let her out because we were still moving, and hoped the Applewoods would pass quickly. Of course, they didn't. We rolled to a stop RIGHT NEXT TO Suzie Applewood, who was kissing her mother goodbye. I had no excuse not to let my girl out. So I did.

Suzie started to walk away before Charis was fully out of the car, but Charis ran as fast as her tiny little legs could carry her to try to catch up. And even though Charis was clearly inches from her, tapping her shoulder, trying to say hello, Suzie Applewood did not turn around once. She went directly to the teacher, gave her a hug, stood in line, and proceeded to ignore Charis as if she was not even there. I would love to have simply pulled away and not watched my beautiful little girl get snubbed, but I was stuck in line. And how do you pull away from your baby girl when your heart feels a little bit broken?

All of that happened an hour ago. The morning began just fine, but at that moment, a switch flipped. I became grumpy and short-tempered and considered pulling Charis out of school so I could teach her at home, where everyone loves her and enjoys her company. Sigh. I probably won't. But this Mama Bear is having a hard time calming down. I wonder what Suzie Applewood would look like without limbs.

Conversely (because while I feel angry, I would never, of course, hurt Suzie Applewood or even be mean to her because see: mature and forgiving), I am praying that Charis will not be so enamored of Suzie and pick one of the very sweet girls and boys in her class to be friends with. Could be Neil! Or Corey! Or Bailey! Or Paris! Or Allison!

Or. Sigh. Stupid Suzie Applewood.

Clearly I will have a harder time getting over this than Charis will.

21 October 2009

She's Walkin', Yes, Indeed

I've been meaning to tell you for about a month that our dear, sweet infant is now a toddler. This is where it gets fun. She walks. She runs. She climbs off of beds and the couch on her own. She goes up and down stairs at will and without assistance. She hates being cooped up in a stroller, wagon, or shopping cart; this girl wants to MOVE.

About a week before Ruby officially began walking, Abe and I were scheduled to be in Nursery B, which is the 12-18 month "early walkers" nursery. Our church is a little bit big, and our nurseries are crazy; no mere infant Nursery for us, no sir. We've got to separate them by ambulatory prowess. At this point in time, Ruby was still in Nursery A, "infants," because she was not yet walking. We thought it would be nice to have her in the nursery with us, though, so we temporarily bumped her up. I don't know if it was the power of suggestion or what, but within a week of being with all of those Early Walkers, she joined their ranks. She just stopped wanting to crawl and started running.

On a side note, she's a bit behind on her Well-Baby doctors' visits (she's my third child; what can I say), so I really have no concrete knowledge about her percentiles or anything, but when I saw her next to all of these other children her age--instead of standing next to a three month-old--I was astounded at how small she is. It's not like she's a dwarf or something (at least I don't think so...), but she is a tiny little peanut by comparison.

What she lack in size, though, she makes up in cuteness. And ambulatory prowess.

08 October 2009

Dancing Queen

For years now, Charis has wanted to take ballet lessons. We've postponed it again and again, for lots of reasons, but this fall worked out to be (I thought) a good time to plunk down the cash and let her learn. I am not personally a ballet-type of person; I took ONE gymnastics lesson as a child and was traumatized because they wanted me to take of my tennis shoes. My husband and I have, at various times in our lives, played and coached basketball and volleyball, respectively. We're really team sports people around here. But like it or lump it, Charis has always been fascinated by ballet. She twirls, she waves her arms, she believes she's really doing it...so we figured it was maybe time for some formal instruction.

The teacher I chose is Cathy K., who sat next to me in choir for years. That first picture of Charis is from circle time at the beginning of class. The girls each got a little plastic place mat to sit on so their space would be defined; they used it not so much to sit on, but to hold up, bend into a tube, wear as a hat, or use as a blanket. That picture was taken during the 4.7 seconds Charis actually sat on the mat.
Soon thereafter, it was time to move. Or, as I like to call it, "It's All Downhill From Here." They marched in a circle and performed actions as instructed by the song they were listening to, and on their march, Charis discovered her favorite thing ever: a giant mirror. She has always loved mirrors--she stares into them, makes funny faces, smiles at herself, poses--and this mirror was bigger than any mirror she has ever seen.
Not that it became a problem or anything.
Nope. The mirror didn't distract her one bit.
Okay, maybe a little.

Charis is not a very sit-still-and-listen kind of kid; she's usually fidgety and distracted unless she's absolutely engaged. Multiply the fidgety distraction by about a thousand, and you have Charis In Front of A Giant Mirror During Ballet Class. In my estimation, it was a bit of a disaster.

For the first few weeks, despite the presence of the huge reflective surface that allows Charis to watch her favorite program, "The Charis Show," Charis said she didn't really like ballet class. I think she imagined ballet class to be a big room where they played music and she could twirl to her heart's content. We missed last week because we were traveling, but this week is Parents Viewing Week, where the parents get to sit in the class and watch. I am a little nervous, truth be told. We'll see if she likes it any better.

And if she doesn't, we'll just have her stand in front of the mirror and make faces. She'll like that.