My three year old daughter Merry is having trouble in preschool. Her teacher says she's smart, articulate, funny and creative, but if you ask her what color the square is she will tell you that it is green, when she knows very well that it is orange, because she thinks it's funny. Instead of counting the little Montessori sticks to learn her numbers, she will build a bridge out of them. During "circle time" when the kids are having stories read to them, or singing a song, she will lie down, take off her shoes and suck her thumb. (To her credit, talking to her teacher makes me want to yawn and put my head down too, she's dull as a butter knife.)
Today when we got home, she went into her room, took off all of her clothes and demanded the pair of hand-me-down pajamas from her cousin Clara and her monkey slippers. She had a huge scratch on her belly and when I asked her where it came from all she would tell me is that she got it in Africa. I could get no other answer out of her.
The general consensus is that she has sensory integration problems, but I think of her more like I was as a kid: living entirely in my own head, so much so that I could hardly be bothered to pay attention to anything that was actually going on around me. I grew up so naive that by the time I was a teenager I still had almost no real idea of the facts of life, did not know how to pick up on the emotional cues of others, and did not understand popular culture at all.
An example: When I was fourteen my friend Maya talked me into entering the local very small-town summer festival pageant. She was really into it. She was a shoe-in; she excelled in piano, art, speech, and athletics and she was beautiful. And she wanted that crown. I was along for the ride.
There were a few different elements of the pageant; an interview, a group dance, individual talents, and formal gown promenade. The only talent that I had (that could be demonstrated in the school gymnasium where the event was held) was gymnastics. I chose music and made up a routine for myself, practiced it for weeks and performed it in front of an audience of two hundred people. This is the music I chose:
In my head, music from a movie about dancing = appropriate choice for a pubescent girl to do back-handsprings to in a sparkly leotard. When I saw the movie, I never got that she was a stripper. I still cringe at what the conservative Lutheran township thought of my musical choice and what it said about me and my future as a shining example of youth and ambassador for the town of Osage Minnesota.
Maya won. She went on to compete in the Miss Minnesota pageant.
I was first runner up.
Merry would totally win. Her talent would be "running really fast".