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Last summer, on our trip to Washington DC, Phoebe was playing in the swimming pool with her cousin Rhett. Rhett started to chase her, saying: “I’m going to catch you and lock you in my pirate cave!”

“No you’re not, because I can open the cave with my magic wand!” Phoebe said.

“Then I’m going to paralyze you with my jellyfish potion!” Rhett said.

“No you’re not, because that won’t work on my magical mermaid fin!” Phoebe said.

“Then I’m going to tie you up with my lasso!” Rhett said.

“No you’re not, because I can cut the rope with my sword!” Phoebe said.

Rhett finally turned to me, laughing, and said, “I don’t think I’m going to win this!”

This is the same little girl who was so shy, she wouldn’t even speak to my family when we visited two years ago.

I said to a friend the other day: “Phoebe is in this phase where she won’t let me out of her sight.” Then I thought a minute and added: “Wait, does it count as a phase if she’s been this way since birth?”

“No, I think then it’s a character trait,” my friend says.

No matter how involved she is in whatever she may be doing, Phoebe can always sense when I’ve stepped out of range. Then she’ll shout, in an alarmed way, “Ma-MA?” and roam around trying to find me. (Note: I never go that far. Our house is not that big.) If I say, “I’m going upstairs to switch the laundry; I’ll be right back,” she will follow me up the stairs. If I say: “I’m going to take this to the compost bin; I’ll be right back,” she’ll come out on the back deck with me. If I say: “I’m going ____, I’ll be right back, do not follow me,” she will follow me anyway (she even does this in the swimming pool, even though she can’t really swim – it only took one time to realize that I could not, in fact, count on her to stay in the shallow end while I swam half a lap and back).

“Would you just stay put?” I said to her once, exasperated, and she said: “Mommy, here’s the rule. Where you go, I go.”

Unlike Mallory at this age, Phoebe has never come home complaining that someone at school was mean to her or that someone would not be her friend. I don’t know if this is because the kids in her class have been much nicer than the kids in Mallory’s, or because Phoebe doesn’t notice things like this, or because everyone likes Phoebe. (It is true that when she walks into her classroom, a lot of the kids will shout: “Look! It’s Phoebe!”) I think, actually, it’s because she’s just very…self-assured and self-sufficient. She loves to play with other kids, and she’s not afraid to ask to join in, but she also doesn’t mind being by herself (unless it’s Mallory leaving her out of something, and then it’s an entirely different story). I’m not sure how this will play out as she gets older, but for now I’m glad that only one of my kids has social drama issues.

Phoebe spends half of her time in a fantasy world, narrating as she goes. This is often amusing but occasionally tiresome, especially as someone is required to say “Okay!” at certain points in her story. (If not, she’ll just repeat whatever it is ad nauseam.) Also, sometimes she just can’t decide about certain details, and then she sounds like this: “This is my baby. Her name is Kara.” [“Okay.”] “No, actually, her name is Michaela.” [“Okay.”] “No, actually her name is Shalaya – her name is Shalayma.” [“Okay.”] “No, actually her name is Kelly.” [Silence.] “Her name is Kelly.” [Silence.] “ACTUALLY HER NAME IS KELLY!” [“OKAY!”]

When she’s frustrated, Phoebe will say, “Oh, barnacles!” When she wants something to eat [but can’t have anything], she’ll say, “But it’s starting to growl!” When someone tells her something she doesn’t quite understand, she says, “Well, that’s awkward.” When she wakes up in the morning, she wants her bekfrast. Lately she’s been confusing her adverbial phrases, so she’ll say “at least” when she means “even though” or “unless.” [“Why are they called pancakes at least they’re not a cake?”]

Phoebe is still a terribly picky eater. I’ve pretty much given up on her. Most nights, she gets a bowl of cereal for dinner (her favorite being Ricie Krispies). Occasionally she’ll eat a piece of pizza, although she prefers it without crust and sauce. The other day she requested a cucumber sandwich with butter for lunch and was upset that I had no cucumbers. I don’t know what I’m going to send in her lunch box next year.

Last week Phoebe made Mallory a card that said: “To the most perfectest sister ever.” She and Mallory formed a “BFF” club and demanded to throw a party for themselves. (“Haven’t you always been BFFs?” I asked, and Phoebe said, “No, we only just now realized it!”)

Yesterday the school principal called me and told me that Phoebe scored “slightly behind the curve” on her kindergarten screening test. I don’t know what kind of test this was or how they scored it, but I think they must have done something wrong. Then again, I’m not sure that Phoebe will ever have any interest on following anyone else’s curve in the first place. Which is okay by me.


Karen said…
Does the test take into consideration that she is not even 5 yet, and in fact, will just barely be 5 when she starts to kindergarten?
Krista said…
Yes, I think it did. I'm going to talk to the teacher some time this week. I probably shouldn't have mentioned it; I don't think it's that big of a deal. But it bothered me. I know I'm biased, but I think she's pretty smart. I'll let you know what the teacher says.
Amy said…
Any 4 year old that responds to me asking her if she knows who Mother Nature is (my Halloween costume for last year)no and then after the 10 second silence that followed with "Well THAT was akward" is pretty smart in my book. But maybe I am biased as well. ;-)
Chris said…
She's fine. They just administered a test with no prior warning or planning for any of the teachers, and giving no knowledge of what they were testing for. Which is silly.

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