February 07, 2015

Big Girl


"That's right. Daddy's a big boy. I'm a man."


"No, Mommy's a big girl. And Scout is a big girl, too. Scout, are you a big girl?"

Pause. NO.

There's a lot to be read into how our daughter responds to this frequently-asked question, as we drill the concept of becoming and being a big girl. In one week she will be two years old, and deemed ready to leave the infant room at her daycare to fend with the general population of a preschool room. She has visited this room plenty over the course of the winter with her infant-room caregivers, but not until this past week has she been led to the new space and left solo in attempts to intermingle with the older kids, new digs and different staff. The transition, I am told, has been slow. The tone in which I am told lead me to believe she is adapting warily and not without struggle. There have been tears.

A year ago, our family faced a much rougher scenario. Kerry, returning to work after lengthy maternity and parental leaves. Scout wading into daycare for the first time. The three of us, out of home over a month for extended renovations. A winter that would not die. Scout's initial fresh-meat weeks at daycare were riddled with illness. But then, like now, we knew it to only be a matter of time for her to gain trust and routine in the new, next stage of her life.

Scout is a big girl and she knows it, despite the occasional protest over the label. She puts items on the table if we ask her to put something on the table. She may or may not put away toys at the end of the evening. During her first weeks at daycare she was the only crawler; now she's the infant room's elder stateswoman. Approaching two years of age is the clinical, statistical, most obvious sign that she's ready for the move up. She simply has to be.

I'm told that while spending time in the preschool space, she is perhaps lonely. She misses her mate Walter, they say. The new room has more kids. Bigger kids. Different staff. Less structure. It's precisely like that flailing leap from elementary school to junior high, but with each kid advancing at their own set time. I relished that move to high school; many of my friends joined me, and I had allies in the older grades through my brother and sister.

She will adapt. I'm not concerned about this. But there are moments I stop and consider that my daughter's world is constructed primarily of three working parts (and the people who operate them): the house, the car and the infant room. Remove one of these pillars and I then understand her current shift in attitude. It's stressful. Hopefully within a couple of weeks she'll be entrenched in the new space. 

It has a water table after all. And Walter will still come by for visits.

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