Saturday, July 26, 2008

First one letter, then the next ..and the next

GIRL started writing her name a couple of months ago. It is a bit early. Yes. She'll be 4 in September. She just did it one day. On her own. First one letter, then the next... and the next. Until the wavy letters stood there, tall on the page of blue color, written with green crayon. Since then she practices, over and over again. It is something she loves to do. Writing her name. Yesterday I found a piece of paper on which she had written her name 15 times on the page. Now when she comes home with art work from school, she has written her name on the piece herself. Sometimes it is in the upper corner, sometimes the lower, and sometimes smack dab in the middle of the page.

GIRL has been anxious lately. Her daycare, where she goes part-time, has water play for the months of July and August. There are spray bottles, a water hose, and plenty of mud. In fact, there is often a mud trench dug through the school yard. What is akin to nirvana -playing with water and BOY at home is not the same at school. The outcome of a school day full of unknown. Unknowns are bad words in the LEXICON OF GIRL.

A couple of weeks ago she started talking about not wanting to go to school. This was new. I managed to finally figure it out. GIRL thought that she had to do the water play. That it was mandatory, and not a choice. We've worked it out now. She has a bathing suit in her backpack, in case she changes her mind. Meanwhile, she goes to school in play clothes and tries to discover other things to do. The painting easel, her favorite, is retired for the summer. In place of the easel there are options to paint on other surfaces - like the concrete walkway. She is OK with this, but is truly happy putting paint on paper and I always know when she's had a great day by the amount of paint splatters draped across her clothes.

GIRL has giant, soulful eyes. And a feisty spirit. She is stubborn, yet determined. Her natural inclination to practice, practice, practice and not give up will serve her well in life. She veers from articulate, logical and verbose to mercurial, explosive and speechless within seconds. Sometimes I see it coming. Sometimes not. She is challenging and lovely. She is a quick study and can repeat things verbatim hours later - causing the hair to stand up on the back of my neck. Someday she will be a voracious reader. She has memorized books since she was two. And then she "reads" them aloud. Sometimes to herself. Sometimes to her dolls. For the last week she has been saying that when she grows up she wants to be a doctor. I have no doubt she could be.

When GIRL is rested and not rushed, there is no one better to keep company with. Her small hand easily fitting into mine, the curve of her smile at the ready. She is cautious and not easily trusting. She has boundaries, naturally, of her own making. You must win her over, but when you do...she is yours. And loyal.

Often her voice is shrill. Kind of like...yes, a fish wife. Issuing orders to BOY and other lucky ones in her path. She would do well in the army. Perhaps at taking troops into battle.

She likes to bring me strawberry tea and assorted fruits and veggies crafted in plastic from her toy kitchen. She brings them to me when I am writing, somehow sensing that tea and fresh produce are a welcome respite from the litanies of my inner critic trying to find the right words.

She adores BOY. And he adores her. Although lately, their bickering has been sending me over the edge...and beyond.

I cherish her. I can't imagine what our lives would have been like without her.

BOY: GIRL, I am NOT your friend. Any. More.

GIRL: BOY, I AM your friend and I will love you forever.

And she will... I just know it.

***The Sculpture Gallery: Photo of Sculpture titled: At play

submit to reddit


  1. Wow! You have such a charming girl! Someone so determined, to practise till its perfect (in her own eyes0 I guess...a personality so strong...did she inherit it from you?

    My boy will be 4 in March, and I'm training him to write his name already...cos he was so eager to learn it NOW, I guess he matures too early...Oooops!

  2. I hope her name is Mia or Ann. When my neighbor's son was learning to write his name, he thanked his parents for giving him a short name with all straight lines. He is IAN.

    I wasn't so kind with HRH.

  3. I love your verbal portraits of BOY and GIRL. Will I be granted the honor of their acquaintance when I come into town?

  4. I love when children's personalities come out so strongly and the parents are encouraging!!!
    I used to teach 2.5 - 6 year olds and nothing was worse then the parent who would either not allow their child to do something because 'they were still too young for it' (ex. writing their name...seriously!!!) and/or make them do something because everyone else was!!!

  5. "BOY, I AM your friend and I will love you forever."

    I love the determination in that voice, the voice that sees things long down the road.

    How lovely.

  6. She will treasure reading this about herself someday.

  7. I love your descriptions of your kids. You are such a good observer.

    My mom says I did that thing with memorizing books and reciting them aloud, too!

  8. Those childhood misconceptions - like Girl thinking she *had* to do water play - are so heartbreaking, aren't they? I had many of them as a child and I only wish I could read my childrens' minds and prevent unnecessary heartache . . .

  9. Your girl reminds me of mine a couple of years ago. So sweet.

    Something happened when mine started school.

  10. When Girl grows up, she can run the Women's Colony. I like her.

  11. Awwwww...girl is going to be such a great woman!
    I love this story!

  12. "She veers from articulate, logical and verbose to mercurial, explosive and speechless within seconds. "

    hoo boy, do I know this well.

    thankfully (kinda mean that) my girl reserves the mercurial and explosive for home use. i.e., hasn't shown her arse at school.

  13. this was beautifully written. she sounds absolutely delightful.

  14. Oh how I love that BOY and GIRL. Your words are so loving JCK.

  15. i love that sculpture. have you posted the pic before? because i've seen it somewhere.

    and girl sounds lovely. her writing her name over and over reminds be of he book chrysanthemum. have you read it? you must read it to the girl. it's by kevin henkes, and it's one of our favorites.

  16. I do so want to meet BOY and GIRL someday. The Queen started writing her name on her own too (though not so early, she had just turned 4) although she's been putting her initials on things since she was three. Poor kid has 12 letters in her name too, and she can manage them all. She hasn't done the last name yet. Lately she's more creative about it - she has a visor that she decorated with foam letters. All the letters are there, but they're in random order amongst the flowers and leaves. It's interesting.

    As to the bickering, whoever finds a solution first cna promise to email the other one immediately, OK? Because it's driving me mad.

  17. What a lovely girl, one after mine own heart.
    I love, "You are my friend and I will love you forever." Good for her, she knows her mind and won't be swayed.

  18. You write of your daughter so nicely. She sounds similar to Pip in nature, also. Very cat like - one that will come to you, but don't you dare chase her down.

    Also, re: the waterplay, perhaps you can suggest to the preschool that they have 2 pools - one for the splash inclined and one for the non-splash inclined. The kiddie pools are so cheap. My son and daughter's school had that set up and I thought it was lovely balance between the brave and safe kids!

  19. Your descriptions of your lively girl are lovely and ones that she will truly cherish some day. A memoir in the making. Rock on!

    (aka Balanced Babe at and Tacky Princess at

  20. What a beautiful post about GIRL. She sounds like someone I would love to spend time with.


This blog is no longer taking comments.

Copyright © 2007-2014 JCK.

The content on these pages is the sole property of the author and may not be used or reproduced in any manner without consent.

All Rights Reserved.