Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"I want to snuggle you"

I love my daughter. Truly, honestly, and without my usual sarcasm. She is so sweet. In fact, her most annoying personality traits lately center around her desire to give and receive affection.

Yesterday, I wore a pair of shoes that I bought over ten years ago from Kmart, on clearance, for less than $5. Black velour ballet flats. "I like your shoes Mommy," she said. "The bows are pretty." I can't help but smile.

When she is not tormenting her brother by playing with toys he shouldn't have, right in front of him, she is very sweet. She smiles at him, laughs with him, tickles and raspberries him. Even her rough play is designed to make him laugh. One of these days I will stop worrying about their wrestling. But she also nuzzles him, and they exchange the cutest kisses every night before bed. Trystan won't go to bed without his goodnight kisses.

She has been having a rougher time adjusting to Pre-K than I had hoped. Academically, she's just fine. She writes her name (all 9 letters, mixed case), quite legibly. She constantly astounds me with the knowledge she has absorbed, like those water crystals that I use in the garden, that swell and swell the more you pour into them.

Her biggest problem is affection. She was breastfed, and weaned herself around 19 months old. That decision I have never regretted--my only disappointment was that her brother gave up his night-night milk at a mere 14 months. Even after then, she has continued to insist on skin-to-skin contact in order to fall asleep. When I was pregnant, it was exceedingly sweet that she wanted to snuggle with my bare belly. She has never given up that request, though. She likes to rub bare skin with her hands, but will rub and paw until your arms are sore and over-stimulated.

At school, she is having trouble remembering to keep her hands to herself. She has always been tactile, and likes to snuggle with her teachers like she does at home with us. And up until this month, that has been indulged. Then, all of a sudden, the same teachers who have picked her up and snuggled her for over 3 years are telling her to sit still, by herself, and not to play with her friends' arms or hair. It's rough. Poor kid. She has had a lot of crying fits before school lately, and is worried because she is frequently getting in trouble.

I'm not sure that there's much for us to do at home, besides giving her appropriate affection, and reinforcing the rules (and explaining to our little sponge just why she isn't allowed to stroke someone's arm). I almost wish she had adopted a single lovey--a blanket or doll or something. But all she has is her finger--her index finger, not even the thumb--and we're actively trying to break her of that bad habit as well.

It's sad, really. She's not in trouble for deliberately hurting anyone or being violent or anything, and she is paying attention to what she's learning. And I don't think that there was any way to avoid this transition period. If it wasn't now, it would be next year, or the next. She does have to learn. And in the mean time, I'm not sure whether to give her more snuggles or less at home, to help ease the lack at school. I'm thinking more, myself...

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