I didn't expect it to upset her so much. Most kids
like it, don't they?
Her mom had walked in
and plopped the girl on my lap. No wave, kiss
or hug, she said: That's Kira. and walked
I'm sitting in a pre-school classroom, 1/2
an hour before we're scheduled to close, and this
a beautiful 2-year-old's mom has gone to discuss
registration with the daycare director. Kira's never
been away before, and of the three teachers in this class, I'm the one who deals with separation anxiety and new children.
Hi, Kira. I'm Jane. Would you like to see the
toys we keep in this room?
Nada. I get a
solemn stare, unblinking. I'm used to this sort
of thing, kind of, even though the kiddies are usually
wailing instead of staring impassively. I prattle
on, making calming small talk to the tense body
perched on my lap.
Over there, in that corner,
we have our painting easels. See how Josh uses
I ease into a standing position
and lead Kira around the room. She moves stiffly,
like a windup toy, following me. I sit in the block
corner, where Ariella is making a sprawling metropolis
of bright foam bricks. Kira just watches. Sara, who's
the most verbal and friendly of the group, reaches up
and pinches Kira's nose.
I got her nose, Miss Jane!
I gasp in mock horror, clap my hand over my
Kira starts to wail, loud, scary, I'd never
heard a toddler in such hysterics before.
Give it back! Put her nose back! GIVE IT BACK!
Needless to say, her mother decided the whole
daycare thing wouldn't work for her precious. I can't
say. Kira might have learned to smile a little sooner.