Does anyone know where June went? I think it was the fastest month in history. Our summer continues apace, and it's careening by so quickly that I have to go back and look at our photos on Flickr to figure out what we did on any given weekend.
Felicity kicked off the summer with two weeks of dance camp, which involved learning the merengue and the bachata (?), singing songs in Spanish, and doing culturally enriching crafts. Felicity had never been to this dance school before, and she didn't know anyone or any of the teachers. The morning of the first day, she was SUPER excited, running around the apartment in her leotard and insisting on having her hair up in a proper bun. She seemed to have a good time at the camp and she learned a lot and did well at the end-of-week showcase for parents.
But the second week, which was in a different classroom with different kids and teachers (each week was a separate session), I took her for drop-off and the look on her little face made me want to scoop her up in my arms and run away with her. She wasn't sad or scared, exactly; but I could tell she was trying so hard to keep herself together while she assessed the situation. She was pale and stoic and silent, and I just thought, we've made a terrible mistake. She's too little for all this newness! She should be home with me or playing on a playground, not forced into unfamiliar situations every single week!
Of course, I know that within five minutes of my leaving, she was fine and she was chatty and happy when our nanny picked her up at noon -- but I did get all hand-wringy about how much we expect of our kids at such an early age, you know? I went to preschool at her age, but I didn't go to any kind of day camp -- and certainly didn't do three different camps -- until I was probably seven. And I knew 80% of the kids there, because they were all from my school or in my ballet classes.
She is so completely at home in her school and in her usual activities (which she's been doing since she was two, at the same places and in some cases with the same teachers), and the difference between her separating at school versus at a new place is pretty huge -- though she does hold it together and doesn't cry; she just clings to me like a barnacle until our last good-bye. I mean, we take her to do new activities and outings all the time -- so she's used to it, and she ultimately does well with new situations (she's wary and kind of clams up, but she'll participate and do what she's told -- she is never going to be the kid who just goes running into a new place and is all, "Hey! I am HERE! What's UP?"), and I think it's good for her to learn to be adaptable and so on. But still. Something about it kind of broke my heart. It made me remember what it was like to be so little, so dependent and trusting and a little cautious, and what it must feel like at that age for her to be dropped off in these sort of random places with all new people every once in a while.
Of course, it took me until that morning to realize that there was a connection between the abrupt change in her routine and her marked uptick in clinginess, emotional outbursts, and whining. Whoops. She had also started insisting on taking a toy or random object with her everywhere we went, which was making me weary until it dawned on me that her world was suddenly filled with unfamiliar things and she just needed a transitional object as a comfort. Because, after all, she is FOUR.
(Now Felicity is in school camp and it's completely fine; she's in her element there and frankly it's such a fun program that I wish I could go, too.)
ANYWAY. A few weekends ago, we went to Georgia to visit my parents, with bonus Allison, David and Maggie time as well, and Felicity had a grand time. She did notice the rather stark contrasts between New York and the small-town South, though; she looked around the wooded setting and noted the far-apart houses and said to my mom, "Not many people live in Georgia, Grammie." She was HUGE into Granddad on this visit, wanting him to read her stories and give her baths and be by her side at all times. The two of them even went on an outing to Home Depot. When they got out of the car, she told my dad to hold her baby's hand instead of hers, so the two of them crossed the parking lot with a doll dangling between them.
She had her first Dairy Queen cone, ran through the sprinklers in my parents' yard, swam in a community pool and played at a playground with Maggie and Maggie's cousins, and attended a barbecue dinner party at Allison's parents' house, where the kids put on a karaoke talent show after we had all gorged ourselves on smoked pork butt (AW YES), rolls, loads of delicious sides, and mini cheesecakes. Felicity's turn at the mike, of course, featured her rendition of "Let It Go" -- her pacing was a little off, given that she can't quite read the lyrics off the screen, but on the whole it was a solid performance.
When it was time to leave Georgia, Felicity was quite bereft, but we consoled her with promises that she would soon get to see her best friend from school, a boy named Caleb. You should see these two together. Here's Felicity's description of their most recent playdate: "We played Hide and Seek, and when I would find Caleb, he would give me a hug and a paper heart that was all his love. And then he would find me and I would give him all MY love! I need to write him a card that says, 'Thank you so much for being my friend. I love you!' And then I will give it to him with a BIG hug!" I mean. Sometimes she will say, "Mama, I love you so much. I love you even as much as I love Caleb!" So it's good to know I am at least tied for the top spot.
Our Fourth of July was pretty mellow; it rained for much of the day so we went to a Bemelmans exhibit at the Historical Society, where they had lots of Madeline-themed activities going on as well as an art-and-artifacts scavenger hunt. Felicity had been promised ice cream as part of the Independence Day festivities and she was going to collect on that regardless of weather, so after leaving the museum we went through the chilly drizzle to a cart for her to procure her favorite dye-laden hunk of artificial flavor: the Spongebob. Unfortunately, Mr. Squarepants had at some time melted and then refrozen, so he was not looking his best, let's say. I unwrapped it in the taxi, and Felicity immediately burst into tears. "I don't want my Spongebob to look like that!" she wailed. I assured her that the sugar-and-color bomb would still taste the time, and she morosely ate it while Red No. 5 melted into her hand, on her dress, and somehow in her hair. God Bless America.
That weekend, we also did some mooching off our friends who have a country house, rode the Central Park carousel, and had a phenomenally successful four-friend playdate in our little apartment. Tomorrow we're making our annual pilgrimage to the 'burbs to get some more pool time in (this is the one with the water slide -- whee!) and see still more friends.
Man, I love summer. I just wish it would slow down.