I've been secretly wondering when Marcie's personality would become apparent to me. That's not to say she hasn't had a personality all her own up until now. She's quite aware. And articulate. She isn't afraid to assert her own thoughts, ideas, wishes into conversations with us.
Marcie is excruciatingly clingy and shy around people she doesn't know. I think it used to be that she really was a little frightened by strangers. But now I think it's just for show. Like at the pool, how she only starts squawking and carrying on if she notices I'm watching her through the observation glass. But when I'm not there, she's this crazy dream student who follows directions and swims. Or like how she endears herself to my parents when I'm not around, but the minute I walk in the door, she buries her face in my shoulder and refuses to give them kisses good-bye. In other words, it's a show.
But last week, I got to see the real Marcie. The one I don't usually get to see because she acts differently around me. (I'm having flashbacks to conversations with high school juniors in American Literature, discussing Hawthorne and Salinger about how -and when- we learn to wear masks to cover our true selves- ugh!) It was . . . well, I guess enlightening is the word. I've heard that she can be bossy. And I've heard that she can be persuasive among her peers. But I've never actually seen it.
Then, last weekend, I took her to a birthday party. Marcie was like a little ringleader. "Come on, guys!" she yelled. Let's play in the bouncy. Or, "Come with me, D___. I have to go to the bathroom, you can help me find it." Or, "Let's go get a lollipop at the table over there." And after her toddled along a gaggle of other little three-year-old and four-year-old girls. At one point in time, I caught her sitting at the top of the bouncy-house slide, with her legs blocking the entry to the slide down. She was requiring each passing preschooler to give her and her friend D__ a high five before lifting her leg-gate and smiling and giggling as they flew down the slope.
She knew right where she wanted to sit for the cake (across from the birthday girl, where she could see her). And she waited patiently for her cake, which she devoured in like three seconds (and said thank you to the cake-giver). When it was time to leave, she didn't just scuttle out the door. Oh, no. She announced that she was leaving. "Guys! Guys! I have to go now. I'm going home with D___ (who was coming over for dinner)." She wanted to make sure everyone knew it.
This must be what she's like at school. Not unlike her older brother, Marcie (secretly?) likes being the center of attention. She may be a little more coy about it, but Marcie is a bit of a ring-leader. I'm glad, actually. As long as she uses her people skills for good and not evil. Seriously, I'm not expecting a life of lollipops and rainbows with her. I mean, I was a teenager myself once. But I feel like she's off to a good start. And now I just have to help her keep her self-confidence right where it is now.