Monthly Archives: August 2015

Further Implications of the Daddy under the Couch Cushion

In my last post, I told you about May’s brief but delightful search for her beloved daddy under the couch cushion. And why not, when she has a grandma who searches for her in the unlikeliest places?

But a lifelong friend and literacy specialist to whom I tell this story has another take on it. Social intelligence, yes, but what a high level of transference and abstract thinking appears to be happening here!

rbee_90

May can’t possibly articulate this, but she appears to be thinking, “Since Grandma looks for me in places where I can’t possibly be, I’m going to look for another person in another place, one where he can’t possibly be.”

We may never know whether this is what’s really happening, or whether May just associates me with looking for people, but we do know that she’s a fascinating and charming little lady–and that we’re honored to have her in our family.

“. . . . I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.”  Psalm 139:14 (CEV)

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The Daddy under the Couch Cushion

Two-year-old May is happy to see me at the front door. “Where Daddy go?” she asks, running into the living room and checking under the sofa cushion for her six-foot tall daddy.

couch

Why exactly does she do this?

Because I have an honorable, albeit unspoken title: The Grandma of the Ridiculous.

Lisa makes the cutest video ever of May helping me search for May under the picnic table. Together we peer under the table, crawl through the grass . . . .

In the living room I look for her under the coffee table. (Ouch!) Or could she be in the dinosaur book perhaps? Let’s try the Cretaceous Period.

I am also the Block Grandma, having brought May a set of large, colorful blocks borrowed from Tina.

May has her queendom of loving grown-ups nicely categorized. Her parents’ friend Emma, for example, is the Blanket Tug-of-War Lady, and Auntie Maria is the Head Bump Duchess.

Mommy is, in addition to many other honorable roles, the “Aww!” Person. (The two stroke each other’s hair and say “Aww!”)

Daddy is simply the King of Hearts.

May’s social skills are something else. We’re thinking she has high social intelligence.

According to Psychology Today,

The socially intelligent person knows how to play different social roles – allowing him or her to feel comfortable with all types of people. As a result, the SI individual feels socially self-confident and effective – what psychologists call “social self-efficacy.”

When Lisa and George first met May last summer, Lisa was impressed with the little girl’s confidence. May was a bit shy, naturally, but unafraid. Her foster mom had taught her that the world is a very good place indeed for a little girl.

May

Again from Psychology Today,

Intelligence, or IQ, is largely what you are born with. Genetics play a large part. Social intelligence (SI), on the other hand, is mostly learned. SI develops from experience with people and learning from success and failures in social settings.

I will always be thankful for the doctor who, when she saw that May was failing to thrive as an infant, diagnosed the problem. The surgeon called Social Services with a request that May be visited six to seven hours a day, seven days a week. Social Services responded with Tricia. The nurses lifted May, tubes and all, from her incubator onto Tricia’s lap, where she spent hours listening to Tricia sing and talk to her. And she thrived.

And now I’m thankful for May’s forever family–loving, kind and absolutely ready for the toddler.

Is there a challenge here for me? I’m neither a surgeon, nor a foster mom, nor an adoptive mom–but can I be readier to see a need and step up when someone is “failing to thrive”?