I took some literary license writing this as if it happened in one day, it really is a combination of things over about a week.
“I’m a scientist,” she says matter of factly when I discover her with a large bowl full of murky water, empty hot chocolate packets spilling off the table and onto the floor.
“If that is a science experiment, then you must be trying to answer a question. What question are you trying to answer by mixing hot chocolate and water?” is my exasperated reply. I’m sure she won’t have a response to this, what would she know about science experiments and hypotheses.
“How much water I can add to the chocolate before it doesn’t taste chocolatey anymore, “ Abby explains, focusing intently on measuring some of the mixture with an eye dropper and tasting it.
“I want to take a bath now,” she declares, jumping up from the table. She’s wearing a long sleeve pink nightgown. I can see drips of chocolate on it.
“As soon as we clean up your experiment.” I counter back.
She carefully carries the bowl of murky water to the sink, then goes back for the measuring cup, eye dropper, and wooden spoon. She skips off to the bathroom. I hear the water running as I sigh and pick up the empty hot chocolate wrappers and wipe down the table. And the floor.
“Mom, look this is amazing!” I head to the bathroom to see the ocean she has created. She is making waves with her body.
“Careful!” I exclaim, “we don’t want the water spilling out of the tub.” I drop a towel on the floor to soak up the water and go put baby Liam down for a nap.
She comes through the kitchen, naked. “Put some clothes on please,” I say, “and then let’s do preschool.” Her preschool is Upstart, an online preschool created by Waterford Institute and offered by the state of Utah for free if we committed to using it at least 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
“Mo-o-o-m! I’m starting preschool.” She yells from downstairs what seems like only a minute later. I run downstairs. She’s dressed, sitting at the computer.
“You need to clean up your mess in the bathroom, first,” I say as I type in my password.
“I did.” She says, as she takes the mouse and starts Google chrome.
I go upstairs and check the bathroom. She drained the tub and picked up the toys. Her nightgown and towel are still on the floor. They are both wet. I use my foot to push them around and soak up the rest of the water, then go put them in the washing machine. I can hear Abby’s online preschool, saying “Good job!”
Every time I walk through the family room, Abby says, “Look at this amazing thing, mom!” She’s recorded herself reading a story, filled in numbers on the 1 to 100 chart, practiced sight words, and is now working on subtraction.
The next time I walk in, she’s watching Animaniacs. “Abby! You can’t turn on a movie without permission! And did you finish your preschool?”
I didn’t know she could turn on a movie. I think of the steps she must have taken. Climbed to the top of the cupboard where the DVD was, using the printer as a stepping stool. Put the DVD in the drive. Started WinDVD. It doesn’t autoplay and there is no shortcut on my toolbar.
“Next time, please ask before you turn on a movie. If you turn on a movie without permission, you will be grounded from movies for one day.” I let her finish the Animaniacs episode.
Before locking the computer, I check to see how long she spent on preschool. 31 minutes.
I hear Liam, he must be up from his nap. I go into his room. “Abigail!” I holler. “Why are there toys in Liam’s crib?”
Abby wanders in and calmly explains. “It’s against the rules for me to climb into Liam’s crib.” I’m glad she remembered that rule.
“And it’s against the rules for me to get him out of his crib.” Thank heavens she’s followed that rule. Her method of getting him out of his crib is to climb into his crib, lift him onto the changing table, climb down, then lift him down from the changing table.
“And he was awake so I got him his toys so he wouldn’t be bored until you came.”
How can I argue with that? “Okay. Thank you for following the rules. Next time, will you please just bring him one toy?”
She leaves without responding.
I pick Sandy up from first grade, then we go to pick up Abby from her second day at preschool.
In September, we took Abby out of her part-time daycare and have been having a nanny come 13 hours a week (while I work in Bill’s office). Last week, she explained to Bill and I that she missed daycare. She missed her friends and her teachers and especially the art projects. So we started searching around and found a 3-day-a-week afternoon preschool that we could make work with our schedule.
We get into the house in a flurry of backpacks and art projects, start Sandy on her homework, and I invite Abby to come sit on the couch and read an I See Sam book to me. We are on Book 18. She’s just reading, “Sid and Nan fell in the mess,” when I realize I smell something. “Do you smell something, Abby? I smell hot dogs!”
She jumps up and heads to the kitchen, saying, “I wanted a hot dog!”
I follow her. The microwave shows 26 minutes and 35 seconds left. “Abby! Why didn’t you ask me to make you a hot dog?”
I stop the microwave and pull out a burst open package of 12 polish dogs. The top 3 are browned in spots. Brown liquid pools under the turn table.
"Everyone wants a big green kangaroo."
"Maybe, perhaps, you would like to have TWO."
"I want you to have them.
I'll buy them for you . . .
. . . if you'll wait till the First of Octember."
“That’s silly. Kangaroos aren’t green. They are brown,” Abby insists. It’s time for bed and we’re reading a bedtime story.
“What do you think? Would you like to have a kangaroo?” I ask.
“Yes, that would be fun,” says Sandy.
“Yes, but we would have to build it a large habitat,” says Abby. “I don’t think we have enough space in our yard.”
Where did she learn the word habitat?
“Abby, do you know what a habitat is?” I ask.
“Yes,” she replies, “it’s a home for animals.”
We finish the book. We read a chapter of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and say prayers. When I bend down to kiss Abby good night, she wraps her arms tight around my neck and squeezes. “Maybe we could build the kangaroo habitat on our roof,” she says.
I wanted to get these experiences written down before I forgot. Someday I think it will be fun for her to read them and see what she was like as a child.
Also, our school district also has an accelerated program and we are applying for Abby to be in the kindergarten. The application asks for three examples of why she should be considered. And then only gives me enough space to write three sentences and says not to attach additional sheets. So I’ve been pondering these experiences – and others.
Here’s something that happened a few weeks ago:
I was practicing spelling words with Abby’s older sister, it was the first time we had practiced these words. 1st word: NOT. Sister writes it in shaving cream. I look over and realize, surprised, that Abby has also written it. LOT. Sister writes L, I look over and realize Abby already has LOT written on her wall and is playing with cups. DOT. This time I watch Abby wipe out the L, replace it with a D and then go back to playing with her cups.