Thursday, October 8, 2009


If you could have seen her, you would have thought she'd struck it rich. Ava bounded out of bed this morning, a morning she'd waited for an excruciating two days to arrive. The anticipation was just too much for her to take, which is why I typically don't tell her about things-- exciting things (like ice cream) and upsetting things (like shots) until they are imminent. Both because the anticipation is almost more than she can bare and because heaven forbid if plans should change. Even slightly.

But announcing these particular events were out of my control. They were preschool events...and ever since she learned about them at preschool on Tuesday, she's been asking, on the hour, "When will it be Thursday?" Well, today it was. These were the big events, in order:

  1. School pictures
  2. The firefighters came for a visit (and were going to let the kids, "climb all over their firetruck, mommy!".
  3. Her day to "show and tell"
Many of you know how fascinated my daughter is with anything having to do with firefighters. Given her peculiar fear of smoke detectors, I wonder if she hasn't made a deal with them: I'll idolize firefighters and do whatever they tell me to do so long as you promise to never ever ever go off in my presence. We try to hold up their end of the bargain by a) changing the batteries twice per year; and b) cleaning our oven regularly so that when I do cook over 400 degrees, the drippings from the sweet potatoes don't smoke us out.

Usually when I ask her anything about preschool, what she did, what she learned, what she loved best, she replies, "I don't know." Then, later on, she'll usually give me dribs and drabs of details..."Ellie went home sick; the nurse told us to sing Happy Birthday while we wash our hands; I didn't get picked to be the line leader today..."

And today, even with so much to tell, her response wasn't any different. But here's what I did learn from her intermittently throughout the rest of the day:

She was a little nervous about the school pictures. "Why were you nervous?" I asked her.

"Because I didn't want the flash to go off in my eyes."

Ugh. I remember that flash. I mean, I had forgotten, but then I remembered. Then came the next detail:

"Did you have to sit in a chair?" I asked.
To which she replied, "Nope. I had to sit on a stool."

I completely forgot about THE stool. The school-picture-taking-stool! Whoa. What a flashback. Instantly, I was six years old with a home-job haircut, sitting on the stool that was so hard to sit on (and keep still!)

I also learned (through one of her imaginary play moments) that the firefighters must've told her that she had to wait for a second turn; that there were other children who hadn't had one yet. That kind of made me smile. She couldn't wait to get her little self all over that shiny red fire truck and she was going to try again and again and again to experience it. She's not going to let an opportunity go untapped; even if its thwarted, she's at least going to give it a try.

I was also pleased to hear that she asked where the lady firefighters were. I don't consider myself a feminist in the radical sense, but I must say, in this world, I'm psyched to have a daughter who only sees what she CAN do, not what only other people do. (Although I want her to be a firefighter about as much as I want to imagine the day she leaves home. In fact, her daddy has already made her, at three years old, SIGN an agreement that states: I will let my daddy come to college with me and sleep on my floor all the days I'm there.)

And then, there's show and tell. Ironically, she had planned three weeks ago to bring in her fire hat and her firey red dancin' shoes for the occasion. I guess the stars were aligned with the firefighters coming for a visit and all.

Now, as I write, she's upstairs getting a story and a song (or two, or three). Probably asking her daddy questions like, "What dangerous things did you do as a little boy?" and, "Why were the firefighter's hats yellow today?"

And when I go to bed, I'll remember how excited Ava was when she woke up in the morning. How in love with the day she was before she even knew what it would bring. She did strike it rich. She strikes it rich every single day.

I think she's onto somethin'.