It is only fair I think that I ease into blogging with a post all about Bandar. My favorite posts on my own blog to read are the ones about her. As all moms do, I tend to forget stuff she said as early as 3 months ago and then like all growing toddlers she doesn’t say them again and they are forgotten completely. So here is a small attempt at capturing some of the precious memories this little girl has given us over the last few months.
Pretend play is absolutely the most creative, delightful thing she indulges in at this age and both the husband and I love playing these imaginative games with her.
Here is a classic: Bandar apparently has “Public Speaking” as an enrichment class in her preschool and I have never been able to figure out what exactly she does in it. But as I watch her conducting a pretend school for her imaginary children, I get a small glimpse. She is the teacher, “Ms. Angelina” and their sister as well. Her kids are January, February, March —September (that’s her bday month) and Elsa and Anna. 11 kids in all. October, November and December have left the school and gone to another one ( maybe because she changed schools so often , she is projecting here.) With little help from me to get everyone organized, she gave them topics in turn – “The Sun “, “The Moon”, “Going to the beach”, “Going to the ice cream store”, “The zoo”, “Jewelry” and each imaginary child was supposed to come on stage and talk for a few minutes. She of course, spoke for all of them and reprimanded them when they couldn’t think of more than one sentence to say. And she gave out prizes to the best speaker. “The Sun” which was the first one she did was the most adorable. “The sun gives us light. When we go outside and it is very bright, we have to wear our sunglasses. When we stand in the shade you can remove your sun glasses”. Another one I loved was jewelry.” You can wear earrings, bracelets, necklaces and even anklets. You can be covered in jewelry. Jewelry is really beautiful” . Diva , much?
Talking about the Jewlry obsession, here is another anecdote. We are playing this game at the park together, where she stands behind a counter and I come in as a customer. “May I have some apples, please “, I ask. “Not apples Amma. Don’t be silly. You are here to buy a diamond necklace and earrings!”, is her response! I wish diamond necklace buying was really commonplace breakfast talk in our household but it most definitely isn’t. So I have no idea where she got this idea from.
Sadly, the beauty of these games is lost in Skype and grandparents can barely catch a word of her soft voice and heavy American accent. They really have to be present to marvel at the way she plays and the distance breaks my heart sometimes. When they do see her at the end of the year (hopefully), she might have outgrown this game and phase and will probably be on something new. But that is life.
She loves being read to and our favorite activity remains going to the library to pick up books every few weeks. What is fun to see at this age is her picking up new words and phrases and then trying desperately to use them in sentences. A word she has surprised us with is “delectable” used accurately every time instead of the normal “yummy”. Thank you Fancy Nancy books! A phrase she struggles to use but tries almost every day to get right is “getting carried away”. It’s hilarious to hear her try to use it and ask for validation on accuracy. Another phrase she does get right is “running for cover”. I hope she continues being enthusiastic about learning and applying what she has learnt.
Bandar’s teacher told me that Bandar is super “funny” in class but it’s all definitely contextual, not plain goofy and a tangent to what they are talking about in class. I was trying to figure out what that really meant as she is quite different at home and comes across as a serious kid, rather than funny. The husband kind of got it as apparently he enjoyed making people around him laugh too. I guess he turned out okay, so I am not too worried that she is going to turn into a giant goof ball. She has a sense of humor though which I have seen develop quite a bit lately.
We recently had to take her teachers flowers to school and I got tulips. She burst out laughing when she heard the name of the flower and remarked that she had “Two Lips” as well. So maybe its that sort of a thing that pops in class.
I remain a strong proponent of formal preschool for this age. Maybe in our case we really don’t have much of a choice, but I do think 3 year olds are like little sponges and need to be taught stuff and her trained teachers seem to be doing a decent job of it, despite her school being very play focused.
She has Spanish a few times a week at school, and definitely up quite a few things. She casually reminds us that she knows English, Tamil (maybe 50 words, more comprehension than talking), Hindi ( not even comprehension, just blabber and her “special Hindi” as she calls it), and now Spanish . But her accent definitely seems to be on point when she corrects my pronunciation on words like “verde”. She absolutely rolls her Rs the right way.
School also seems to have gotten her interested in math. Its only simple addition /subtraction at this age and all oral. But we do it usually on our car rides to and from school and classes. It started in January on our trip to Big Bear, when I playfully asked her how many mini idlis she would have if I gave her 5 more in addition to her 5 and she got to 10 in a few seconds. And then we went all the way upto 25 with this simple repetitive addition. She still relies heavily on fingers though which I am trying to break her out of and is expanding her comfort zone from a range of 0-20 to 0-100 slowly. Too many kids growing up with me hated Math and sadly it only takes one bad teacher in one year to turn you against a subject. So it’s far too early to tell but a parent can hope.
Writing is another one of those things that happened only because of school. One day she showed no interest at all and I shuddered every time I saw the awful grip she had on the pen she insisted on using and refused to be corrected. I decided to just let it go, only to find her writing her name within a few weeks, all in caps of course. And then expanding to almost all other alphabets. She struggled with a few, especially N and then took it upon herself to perfect it. She got it right one day and was thrilled to bits to show us. Her penmanship is still immature but legible and maybe she has inherited my untidy writing gene. But hey, she loves writing now and that makes life super easy for us lazy parents. We simply hand her paper and pen and watch her go crazy for a significant length of time.
The negative part of school, is the exposure to mean girls. Yes, mean girls is a thing and starts as early as age 4. Bandar is a people pleaser and it upsets her incredibly when a bossier girl is not so happy with her on a particular day. Though I have told her that it’s good to be friends with everyone and not just stick to one or two girls, she gravitates towards the bossier ones and then is upset when they are mean to her. She calls one particular girl “really scary like a volcano” but despite that most of her day seems to be spent following instructions this girl gives her. Sometimes her teacher even tells us that Bandar cried because of mean stuff that was said during the course of the game. The reality of this cruel world is that I cannot protect her from mean girls all her life and can only raise her to be bold and stand up to them.