It’s been a week since we “took possession” of our daughter again. We were all a little nervous about the first real separation from her. I have a very clear memory of a giant tantrum I threw when my parents dared to leave me with my grandparents overnight once. I think my grandpa ended up calling my mom and asking her to come and pick me up. I was really attached to my mom while growing up, and I know very well that Anna is very attached to me. Still, she “switched” to my parents easily and enjoyed her stay a lot. For fairness sake, they kept her very busy and entertained. She didn’t even have time to open all the toys and learning supplies that my mom prepared for her arrival, but they met a lot of new people, visited new playgrounds, and Anna spent many happy afternoons splashing in the small pool they set up on the deck.
When we came back, I noticed immediately the “jump” in her language and behavior. Not only she learned a few Russian words, but her reasoning became even more involved. It’s amazing to see this little goofball giggling and fidgeting one minute and then coming up with very interesting abstract observations that combine her prior and new knowledge next minute. I think that this stay in a different place (and even, to a degree, in a different culture) benefited her a lot. And it made me think how important “different hands” and “different heads” are to a child’s growth. Yes, we, the parents, know our children best and we certainly want the best for them. But when the children make an effort of separating from a parent and accommodating another teacher, their minds stretch in a way we cannot stretch them. They are so comfortable at home with us, with their favorite toys, with their siblings, with their neighborhood friends. But I believe in the need of nudging them out of their nest and letting them experience new levels of independence, and I hope that daughter is blessed with many adults that will teach her and love her to the best of their abilities.