We had a great evening last night, consisting of a Snickollet Random Dinner* followed by a bath for Riley and a shower for Maddie** followed by an episode of Dora followed by a chapter of Ramona*** followed by the kids chatting for over an hour**** before they fell asleep.
We also had a great morning this morning. I did get the kids (and myself) up 15 minutes earlier than normal, which seemed to help, although it's hard to say given that it was one of those glitch-free mornings that would have been fine without the padding. I'll try again Monday, though, and see how things go. I know that I certainly felt much better knowing that if, at any point along the way things got derailed, we had extra time to get things back on schedule.
People who follow me on Facebook know that I have been extra motivated to get myself out the door in the morning this week because Maddie and Riley have a new teacher at preschool and he is really cute. I feel like some suburban mom stereotype humming "Hot for Teacher" as I waltz into school every morning, but there you have it.
Riley shares my enthusiasm for his new instructor; Riley is generally a warm, outgoing kid, and he's particularly drawn to adult men. It's touching and sweet and sad to see how he craves that attention from adult males. I believe—I have to believe!—that kids can grow up without a father figure present in their lives on a daily basis and be perfectly OK. But when I see how Riley responds to people who fit the "dad" model, I realize that there are things that a father would bring to the kids' lives that are different than what I can offer. Sigh. Reason 1,274,547 to miss John.
Maddie's reaction to Señor M. has been quite different from Riley's. From the very first meeting, she has given him the cold shoulder. Make that the glacial shoulder. If he talks to her, she walks away. He complimented her scarf yesterday and her only reply was a defiant "Mine!" The lead teacher told me that she was that way all day, either ignorning him or being blatantly rude despite his repeated, calm efforts to win her over.
Maddie is intensely social, and she likes to be liked. She's usually quite warm and sweet with new people, so initially I was surprised by Maddie's reaction to Señor M. and by the director's details regarding Maddie's behavior. Then I thought about it some more, and I was hard-pressed to come up with any adult males outside of family to whom Maddie has been immediately friendly and open. I can think of plenty of women with whom she's been quite friendly from the get-go, but few, if any, men.
I have no idea if this relates to Maddie having lost her father so early in her life or not. And it doesn't strike me as a terrible thing; there's nothing wrong with being a little skeptical of strangers, although being outright rude to a teacher is not a behavior I want to encourage. Maddie is wise beyond her years in terms of her emotions. While I don't know exactly what is at work with her right now, I do know I need to be patient with her as she works through it. Luckily, Señor M. knows this, too.
If she's this intense at three, what will she be like when she's thirteen? Oy.
*Tofu hot dog +broccoli + hummus to dip broccoli in + rice for Riley; crab and cheese quiche + broccoli + ranch dip for me and Maddie.
**Our awesome bathroom has a separate bath and shower so the kids can do their own thing if they want.
***We've started reading chapter books! It's great. I love it, they love it, we all love it. We've read Beezus and Ramona and last night we started Ramona the Pest. So far, everyone's favorite chapter is the last one in Beezus and Ramona when Ramona puts her doll, Bendix, in Beezus's bithday cake. "Bendix in a cake!" we keep shouting to each other, and cracking up.
****I think it's time to give up the nap, or at least move in that direction. They are taking forever to go to sleep at night and are waking up really early, even by their standards.