Simon hugs! Simon hugs. And good ones, too, not just pull on your hair, slobber on your cheek kind of deals. Honest to goodness, head nuzzling into your neck, fat little forearms on your collarbones hugs. He'll even sigh. On command. Aahhhhhh. He also claps, signs for more, says mama and bobo (for "boobs." At 5:45 every stinkin' morning. Very funny, mister. I am not going to miss being a baby feeding station. Not one bit), and takes a step by himself to get from one thing to the next. Just the one, and only after minutes and minutes of thoughtful consideration.
The other day I dropped off Claire Helen's preschool forms. When the receptionist was looking over the paperwork, she noticed two pages were stuck together, and one of them required me to describe Claire Helen in 3 lines. 3 lines! Impossible. Then they asked what I thought they might like to know to help teach her. I said "Claire Helen is very shy in groups, but will really open up with one on one adult engagement." Which, duh. I mean, they all are. In my defense, I was trying to come up with the essence of my firstborn in the 10 minutes before the preschool closed with both the babies completely unconvinced that reception area coffee tables are not for climbing.
What I meant was, "Claire Helen is very shy in new groups, but once she is comfortable that someone is paying attention to her, flutters off pretty well." She does play well with others*, and has some pretty good little friends, such as friendship is at this age, but it takes her a very long time to warm up, even with me there.
She is not a kid who is going to seek out attention or praise. Pretty much ever, but absolutely not in a group, and will shut down completely upon being singled out for any reason. That doesn't mean she doesn't want praise or attention in other forms- she does, really, and wilts without it, she's just not going to ask for it. This is familiar to me, because I was like that as a child. My solution to this dilemma was to insist on being the very best ever ____ at whatever I tried, because whoever comes in first has to get some praise, right? This is, as you might imagine, uh, stressful on a little kid, and I hope she doesn't catch this gene, but it's a hard line to walk as a parent. On the one hand I'd like to help her learn to ask for what she needs, because that's a pretty useful life skill, but on the other, I don't want her to lack praise and think we don't think she's good enough because I'm going for some theoretical life skill.
Thank goodness we don't have to have this all sorted out tomorrow.
*well, mellow others. She has some melodramatic friends, and you can just tell as soon as she learns how to roll her eyes she's all over that.