Regular readers of this blog know that Evan, my 5-year-old, attends our church's preschool four afternoons a week. It's a great situation, with a class of only seven children that have become quite a close-knit little group. There is only one girl in the class: Isabella. The longer I know Isabella the more I admire her.
Isabella comes from a female-only single-parent household. So you can imagine the culture shock of daily having to enter a classroom full of rambunctious, noisy little boys. But Isabella seems unperturbed. I noticed early on that like a typical girl, she quickly took on the maternal role in her class, doing her best to help out the poor hapless males around her (it was Isabella who ran to the rescue at Evan's birthday party when he dropped his Chuck E. Cheese game tokens all over the floor). She is also a typical female in the superiority of her small-motor skills, cutting, pasting and drawing circles around all those boys. And when it's time to sit on the rug for circle time, guess who is always first to her spot, modeling the quiet, listening behavior that the boys seem still not to get? Yet when it's playground time, Isabella is right in there holding her own in the jumping, climbing and running departments. If not for the pink snowsuit you wouldn't even be able to tell she was a girl.
Last week I was preschool helper and I couldn't help noticing a few new behaviors from Isabella that I had never seen before. At one point she quietly went off and sat for a few minutes in one corner of the room. The teacher asked if she was okay but then wisely left her alone, telling me, "She just does that sometimes." Isabella was back in a few minutes. A little later one of the boys came to report that Isabella had growled at him. Apparently this was not the first time--it is a behavior she has adopted when people invade her space or annoy her. The teacher reminded her that it's not nice to growl.
But I don't know--I think Isabella may be on to something. When it all becomes just too much and you need a little break, turn your back on the world and go sit in the corner for a while. People will get the idea that you want to be left alone. And if they don't leave you alone, do a little growling. It's better than crying or screaming or hitting or breaking things, right? What's the harm of a little growl here and there? From what I observed in preschool, it works pretty well!
I think this little girl has a very bright future. At five years old she is already handling her emotions better than a lot of grown-ups I know, myself included. Isabella, honey, you hang in there, okay? You're doing just fine.