I feel a little badly that I was so hard on Emmie in that last post. I mean, it’s all truth, and I think things that are hard need to be said as much as things that are lovely, but since I haven’t said much about Emmie in quite a while, it’s not fair to leave that post to stand alone.
The other night (the night I started this post, ha!), Emmie was so sweet that I could hardly believe she was the same child as on Mother’s Day. She wanted nothing but hugs and snuggles, spontaneously declared her love for both me and Peter multiple times and generally reminded why she is so very lovable. We had wonderful conversation about her day at school, she made witty and insightful comments about things and was generally delightful. Even in bed, when she was delaying the inevitable by chewing on her foot (?!?), she told me “I’m so hungry, that’s why I’m eating this toe.” Naturally.
We had instituted a sticker chart to try to promote some longer-term good behavior, with a visit to the fire engine at the Children’s Museum as the final reward. I had hoped she would be able to complete the chart within a week, but it ended up taking a month (we could have been much more generous with the stickers at times, but it ended up working out and we were finally able to go today).
Before I get to the museum, I have to sing Emmie’s praises. She has been working *so* hard and there has been such an improvement in her behavior. Is she still 2-going-on-3? Yes. But the vast majority of the time, she is sweet, she is thoughtful and she is trying hard. She even tells me at night after bedtime, “I didn’t lollygag tonight!” (she gets an extra story if she doesn’t lollygag). This has literally cut 20 minutes at least off of bedtime (thank GOODNESS!). I need to write a separate post on just how wonderful she is, but this should give you an inkling.
She finally got her reward and we went to the museum today and I’m pretty sure it was right up there in Emmie’s list of “Best Days Ever.”
She has been quite insistent on being a firefighter when she grows up for at least the past two months, to the point that if I suggest that she will be a high schooler someday, she will say, “No mommy! I’m gonna be a firefighter!” Peter managed to talk her into adding “doctor” to that list, since she honestly spends most of her day pretending to be a doctor. We saw some actual firefighters the other day, hanging out by their fire engine, and as we passed them, she told them in her sweet little voice, “When I get bigger, I’m gonna be a firefighter!” They said, “That’s great! You come see us when you’re ready.” I was so, so proud of her for being so brave in talking to them!
Needless to say, the sight of a real-life fire engine inside the children’s museum just about felled her her.
Soon enough, she had figured out where the “fire station” was and quickly started her favorite pretend play schema. First she would be “sleeping,” then an alarm would sound, so she would have to jump out of bed and race to the fire. (Not pictured is her adorably sliding down the pole, because I definitely had to help with that).
Then she would put out the fire with the hose. She was so excited to see that the fire truck had real hoses!
She ventured up into the actual truck once (there were a lot of pretty rough boys around there with fairly lax parental supervision), and she loved pushing the buttons and even driving the truck herself!
The museum had an exhibit Emmie loved even more than the fire truck, amazingly. It was all about physics and Newtonian forces, presented through orange balls traveling through tracks the kids could change and manipulate. Emmie was in *heaven*.
For the first time, I was struck with a feeling of peculiar protectiveness that I had heard described before by parents of girls. I realized I would cheerfully throttle anyone who dared to suggest to Emmie anything that might detract from her joy in engineering, math, or science. How could anyone dare to suggest that she might not be just as good or smart or skilled at these things as a boy? I certainly had my fair share of these kinds of comments and I sometimes wonder where I might have ended up had the world been a little different (OK, let’s be honest. I still would probably have ended up doing something with language, but I really did love biology and chemistry, once upon a time). I can only hope that the world has changed even more since then, and I know I will have to do my best to give her the confidence to shake those things off when they do, sadly, inevitably come.
Nothing else we did today brought this kind of smile or those shrieks of joy. Not the awesome ballet class, not the pretend house or baby dolls or pretend garden or even the firetruck. She positively delighted in watching where the balls went, figuring out how to make them go other places, and adjusting the track so that the balls would go in the right spot.
I’m not trying to suggest that she might be a genius or anything, but I think this picture speaks for itself. Just look at the resemblance!
Emmie was very happy that we decided to get a membership to the museum because she did not want to leave! I’m so eager to explore these new horizons with her too.