Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thoughtful About . . . Stray Mittens

(Real quick--today's your last day to enter the giveaway for Golden's A Prisoner of Versailles before I draw the winner tonight!)

I know, I know. You look at the title to this post and think I'm going to talk about my kids' propensity to lose one of each and every set of mittens in the house. And they do, I assure you. But that's actually not my point at all. =)

On Tuesdays I take Xoe to Story Time at our library, which she loves. It's the usual setup--the librarian reads to them, they sing some songs, there's a craft or snack. The past few weeks, one of the songs has made use of the felt-board and cutout paper mittens in different colors. When the song calls out the color of then mitten you have, you run up and put it on the board. Simple, right?

I've noticed something these last few weeks. Whenever Miss Liz says, "Put them here" and pats the board, every other child--I'm talking every . . . single . . . one--puts their colored mitten where she points. The first to get there will put it by the edge, the second (there are two of each color, go figure) right beside it.

Except Xoe.

Naturally, my little princess must be different. On Tuesday, she put her white mitten right in the middle of the board, though the first child to get there with with white put it by the edge, under the red ones, just like the librarian indicated.

I watched carefully when it was her turn again. By the time yellow was called, the board was mostly full. Again, another kid got there with yellow before her. Again, started a nice, neat row.

Where, I wondered, would my little deviant put this one? There wasn't much room left, other than beside its match. Would she conform?

Er, no. She put it in the spot still open beside the first white one.

I nearly laughed. There it was, this lovely rainbow of mittens, surprisingly well ordered by a bunch of three-year-olds, and the only oddities in the pattern were those two mittens my daughter put up, one white, one yellow. Two bright, cheerful slaps in the face of conformity.

Now, as a mother of a preschooler, there are a lot of moments when I think, "Can't you just do what you're told? Please? Must you make waves? Must you do things your own way? Don't you see that your outfit looks ridiculous, that you've made your 'art' over top of an actual picture, that you've undone all my cleaning by creating this 'obstacle course' of toys?" Especially in public. Especially around other mothers with their well-behaved children who come to the library appropriately dressed.

But you know . . . on Tuesday, something in me cheered. Something said, "Yeah, go Xoe! Make a new pattern! Color outside the lines! Wear red and black Minnie Mouse shoes with a pink and yellow kitty-cat dress! Be you!"

Now, I would like to note that my daughter is darn good for a 4-year-old. She can color inside the lines, follow precise directions, and pick out a pattern. She can clean up her toys, pick out presentable clothes, and charm the socks off any adult she comes across.

But she can also create. She can go around for a full day, narrating a story in her mind that incorporates everything she's actually doing. She can turn a boring tan rubber band into an intricate bracelet.

She can turn a paper mitten into a bright spot. And this mommy, who sometimes just wishes she would listen, couldn't be more proud.

2 comments:

  1. Awww! So sweet! My oldest (who is now 17) still teases me because when he was little his favorite outfit was shorts, cowboy boots (that were too big and went up to his knees), and topping it of with his batman cape. And I never let him go out that way, only at home. So he teases me that I damaged him by stunting his creativity. LOL!

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  2. How fun is that! How cool to see her personality and creativity coming out! I'm guessing you were a lot like that, Roseanna!

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