Manya came back home after her last day at preschool today. And while I rofl'd at her demand for a graduation present (I didn't even know going from from preschool to pre-k was semantically fit to be termed "graduating"...pffftt), I do realize how she has grown in every which way this year. From the protective cocoon of home and mommy and daddy, she ventured out on her own - making her own relationships, living her own experiences, taking on the world ... okay even if that is an exaggeration, she was out there for almost 3 hours, five days a week, without me *insert piny sobby mom face*.
And as I sit here reminiscing the months gone by, I thought sharing her "growth" and "learning" would just be the perfect way to celebrate her "graduation" from preschool.
- Big Words
I have always been secretly very proud of Manya's vocabulary (so what if more than 90% of it is used against me) but this last year the words she has picked up (with or without complete context and meaning) is phenomenal. I already did a post on Synergize and Proactive here. She uses obnoxious
in the right context to describe me when I am angry. When I couldn't decide what to make for dinner the other day, she goes, "Mom, you don't have to be so skeptical about it". Ha ha ha, but I will take it. The term withdrawing privileges gets thrown around once too often. Case in point here. And ofcourse daddy's contribution, "There will be consequences for actions." Or, Don't you dare interrupt. Or the very hilarious, "Let's just improvise, mom! No arguments, no disappointments! I could go on but let me end this with, "Weird" - elongate ei and say it with the emphasized American twang. That was really weeeiiiirrrd, mom! Huh!
- Bigger concepts
Not just the words, the concepts are growing too. We have an in-house "recycling" nazi who double checks the trash to ensure waste has been properly segregated. Manya can give you the complete low down on healthy diet and sugar crash - organic food, essential nutrients - everything but whoever said Practice what you preach never ever said it to her, She is also big on insects and bugs - lifecycles of termites, ants, ticks, dragonflies and what not. She throws around terms like metamorphosis and camouflaging to to make sure you know that she knows!
While reading, Manya often points out certain words such as fast etc where my British pronunciation (Thanks to the lingering colonial influences where we still bow to the Queen when it comes to matters of the English language) is different from what she hears around here, especially in school. So we often discuss how both are correct but it's best that she follows school. The other day, I was reading out to her B I G, that's big. And the cheeky things goes, "Mom, I think we Americans would just pronounce it as ginormous".
And then, she was trying to open the bathroom door once when I was inside so I shouted, "I need my pr-i-vacy. She goes, "Do you mean, you need your pr-Y-vacy? I yelled back, "I mean, Leave me alone." Seriously, WTF.
Other Americanisms...What the heck! And you have to see a four year old go, "Oh man (say it with the A twang), not again!! Or, Are you kidding me? Or, "This is freakin' awesome!" Or, "Mom, give me a break!" Mom, you need to seriously chill. Guys, seriously?! Or, "Oh, those suckers (roll the r please). Again, it's an infinite ever growing list but let me close this one with the most annoying. "Hey, guess what? What? Chicken butt! I had to consult the urban dictionary online for this. *insert infinite eye rolls*
- From Americanisms to American fast food
Before I proceed, I really want to say I don't want any American to take any offence to what's written here. You know it's light hearted. I mean I love all my American pals, I swear I do and you know that. But seriously American fast food doesn't earn you any brownie points. My lovely fruit eating, vegetable loving, daal-chawal (lentils-rice) and roti-sabzi (Indian bread-cooked veggies) kinda girl has become this mac-and-cheese, oreo, pretzel, gold fish, cracker babe. To be fair to her she does strike a balance but hello we were doing just fine without jell-o!
- Welcome to the Princess phase
What is with little girls and princesses? Nothing but peer pressure? Like seriously? One day before preschool we were all good - all kinds of clothes were acceptable and so were all colors. A quarter into preschool and if something isn't purple, pink or glittery it is 'ugly', 'unbeautiful' (because I told her ugly was a harsh word) or just 'sad'. She has never been fed on a diet of princess stories or fairy tales, but now she gravitates towards them, asks for them, devours them. And let's not talk about the merchandise. I am so sick of it.
Btw, just in case you didn't know, three and four year old girls apparently discuss hair color, nail paints, salon trips (manis and pedis specifically), and even looks that are fashionable and "sporty" (yes, Manya came home the other day saying I wore that ugly nike tennis skirt and shirt to school but everybody said I am looking good, sporty actually.)
Add to that questions on skin and eye color and who can really be a princess. So I told her honestly that skin and color doesn't really matter. It's mostly titles passed on by birth. Very dismissively she says, and we don't really live in a castle anyways! So that was that!
We also have dangerous conversations about girl colors and boy colors and we have on multiple occasions got into serious discussions on choice and its irrelevance to gender. But how do you argue with a four year old who goes"It's my body and it's my choice. And I will choose happy. And pink is happy. And nobody can tell me what to do with my body or how to be happy. I am smart and intelligent and I want to look pretty."
I back off!
- Star Wars, Super Heroes
So either my daughter has multiple personality disorder or she is just really well rounded. She loves her hair long and her dresses flowy but her favorite story character is the droid from Star Wars - R2D2. She enjoys reading all the Star Wars stories and most super heroes, her favorite being Hulk. And she races cars with her friends too. The challenge we have had is to keep her from watching the related series and the movies because I told her those were not age appropriate. And yes I do hear the constant whine, "But so and so at school already saw it".
- Towards financial wisdom
So we have started having conversations around how we cannot go buy everything we lay our eyes on or "really need" vs. want.. How real privilege works. How we count are blessings and try to be happy with what we have. How we find happiness in giving and sharing and not just taking. How the simple solution to every problem is not just , "Let's look it up/buy it online". How people work to earn money and how money is used. How we cannot just "let's send mommy back to work for money so that we can go on a holiday to a different country every month". How the answer to "Daddy, can you please buy a house for the poor guy at the signal" is no. How "sharing my car snack and giving away all the money in mommy's wallet" is not going to solve world hunger and poverty. How charity is not "giving away mommy's dresses and trousers and coats to those who don't have it." How it's polite and good to be reasonable with birthday and Christmas lists even though we do not know the answer to "Mommy does Santa also have a money problem like us". How it is just not only about money.
Too much for a four year old? I think so too. Now somebody please go tell her to raise issues that are more age appropriate.
- Am I an Indian? Am I an American?
Manya is starting to ask questions around identity and belongingness. I don't know how this was triggered but she asked me one day if she was an American or an Indian. I explained to her about citizenship, passports and origin in the simplest way I could but I was surprised how much children observe their surroundings, absorb and question.
- A dog or a baby sister
This ofcourse is pure peer pressure. I have been given a choice between giving her a dog or a baby sister. For now, we have settled on that she will grow up and have, and I quote her, "two adorable baby girls just like me". God save her.
- Toilet humor vs. Morbid humor
All my preschooler's jokes fall into only those two categories. If the mind is not in the potty, it is caught up in the other existential extreme. Mommy, I am just going to die, kill so and so. Oh I am just kidding. Ha ha ha. There's nothing funny about either of the two categories. I love you mommy forever, even when you die. Thank you, I say, quite without humorlessly.
- Career choices
Manya at age 2.5 wanted to become an astronaut. At age 3, it was a veterinarian. At age 4, she wants "to be a normal person who is a technical writer who works from home and has two adorable girls just like her." She had me at "normal" :D.
Finally ending this post with a recent conversation that is the perfect summary of the overarching sentiments of this year.
Manya: Mommy can somebody be different from out and something else from inside?
Me (trying to be as vague as possible): Umm I guess yes, but like in what way different?
Manya: Like they look something from outside and are very different on the inside.
Me (Very clueless as to the direction of this conversation): I guess so. There could be such people. But why do you ask? Do you know someone like that?
Manya: Yes, I am like that.
Me (very bewildered): I don't understand...
Manya (In conspiratorial whispers): You know, Even though I look like a sweet little girl on the outside, I actually feel like a panther inside.
Here's to another year of exploring our wild sides!