Lately, when I go get kiddo from school (her old PreK, which she still goes to on afternoons and Fridays), I am greeted by a kid who says "Mama, I don't want to go home. I want to stay with my friends." Her teachers have also confirmed she's being much more interactive with other kids her age. In fact, a couple of them also pipe up and say "Oh, Giada! See you later!", when before they were "Eh" about her comings and goings. She even has a couple of friends who reliably play with her in the kitchen area during free play time (she's been obsessed with playing house, lately).
I am thrilled about this. Not long ago we had her tested to see if she was on the spectrum, and we were told that she probably wasn't, but to have retested once she started receiving regular speech interventions. After less than a month at her developmental program, we're seeing a lot more interactivity. I'm not sure if getting more personal attention from teachers (her group there is a lot smaller than the group at her afternoon PreK) is doing it, or if it's just having someone who works with her about specific communication issues (they've been having her focus on expressing her feelings more), or if it's just a developmental spurt on her part.
Her communication is far from ideal, as she's still having trouble with certain speech construct (how to ask questions), and she still seems to have some avoidance issues (we've noticed she won't or can't stand on one foot for more than one second, which is something we're going to address with an OT specialist soon), but by far she's been more expressive, and even, I daresay, happier.
There's a flip side to all that.
Last Friday we left both kids at their daycare for Parents' Night Out. Three or so hours of child free human interaction with a significant other during the evening? Sold! We've done this once or twice before as opportunity has arisen. What has changed is that my daughter, who would usually cry and get worried around 6 when she was told she was staying didn't make a peep this time around.
The director told me when we went to pick her up: "She insisted she wanted to wear pajamas because it was a slumber party, so we changed her in her spare clothes as a compromise". When I went to her classroom about a half hour before 9, her face fell immediately upon seeing me.
"No! NO! I want to stay and sleep here with my friends. Go away mama!"
"Honey, everyone else is also going home"
"No, no, no!"
... And then the screaming started. Lately, when she doesn't want to do something, she starts screaming "OooooOoooOoooOooo" louder and louder, in an attempt to get me to fold*. Sometimes there is room to negotiate things, but sometimes there's not.
I tried to soften her up by saying "Baby, it's late, your friends will also be going home soon, and there's a cupcake waiting for you at home"
Didn't soften her one bit. She cried all the way home, and when we got home she said "But I want to stay there". I reminded her she gets to see her friends again after the weekend. I didn't have the heart to mention that we have a three day weekend (Presidents' Day). We'll get through it, somehow.
* The narrative is very unreliable, but apparently she has a friend at her "Big Girl" school who "screams a lot when he's frustrated". I'd ask her PreK teacher, but it really isn't any of my business to inquire about other children's speech problems. I just remind my daughter that "We don't do that when we can use words instead". It suffices for now.