The girls and I just got home from spending the week at my parents' house. Carly had a little fever for part of the week, which made it okay to just kind of sit back and do nothing. It was nice. MiMi and Poppy entertained the girls and provided our meals, and I got to take a few naps and even eat out a few times with the family.
This week also served as good affirmation for me. Both of my parents are elementary school educators, and they, consequently have a lot of experience with children, so getting their [albeit prejudiced] opinion on mine is interesting. Rachel, in my [somewhat experienced and definitely prejudiced] opinion, is particularly intense. I mean, I know all 3-year-olds are intense. They are in a stage where they want so badly to be independent, but, well, they're just too short most of the time. They have this conflict within them that they don't need us quite as much as they WANT us, and the wanting sends them spiraling back to babyhood in a matter of seconds.
Rachel is no different. But when it seems like some kids take a break every now and then, Rachel stays busy. She never stops. She never quits. She never relents. She never HUSHES. The child talks just to fill what could possibly be silence, which she seems to loathe. Here's an example:
- In the car, passing a pasture with cows.
- Rachel: I see cows and goats, Mommy. Do you see cows and goats, Mommy?
- Mommy: I see cows, but I don't see goats.
- Rachel: ...they're in the barn, Mommy?
- Mommy: Well, no--they aren't in the barn.
- Rachel: They're in the yard?
- Mommy: Yes, they are in the yard.
- Rachel: The yard IS the barn?
- Mommy: No, honey, they are not the same.
- ~3 minutes later, passing a vendor of storage buildings, where there are barn-like structures on display
- Rachel: I see barns, Mommy!! Do you see the barns?
- Mommy: Yes, I DO see those barns!
- Rachel: Cows go in those barns?
- Mommy: Well, not those barns. Those aren't really barns; they are storage buildings that look like barns.
- Rachel: People go in those barns?
- Mommy: Yes, people can go in those barns.
- Rachel: So they won't bite?
- Mommy (half listening): What? So they won't bite?
- Rachel: Yeah...
- Mommy: Well, people don't usually bite...
- Rachel: I bite sometimes.
- Mommy: You do? When do you bite?
- Rachel: When I'm hungry.
- Mommy: Oh, well, sure, you bite food?
- Rachel: Sometimes. Sometimes I bite people. When I bite people, it means that I'm hungry.
- Mommy: No, if you bite people it means that you're not very nice.
PHEW! If I could recall half the conversations we have, I would be able to recount why some days I feel so CRAZY. I try to remind myself that she is trying to learn about the world and about life, and learning is good, right? I want to encourage her to learn, right? I think I do...some days I do. My parents got a good taste of a week with Rachel, and they concurred--she's intense and exhausting!
What's even more interesting, to me, is that she doesn't seem to be that way when she is out of her comfort zone (i.e. away from home and/or family). At church, they tell us she kind of quietly observes the rest of the kids interacting. She does what?? Oh, to be a fly on the wall!
While my Rachel wears me out, I do SO love her spunky little personality. She always has an idea, and she always wants me in on it. She thrives when I praise her dramatically for little successes during the day, and she is learning to respond well to stern intervention when she is being disrespectful or unruly. She is a good girl, and a great helper. She challenges me daily, which is great for keeping me attentive and on my toes. If I can stay one step ahead of her, I am confident that all these things will be an asset to her in the future. I cannot WAIT to see what the Lord has in store for my firstborn.