"I like being told what to do."
-Laura Roecker, Middle Child, survivor of Lisa Roecker's incessant bossy pants machinations
My daughter Mia was born to be a middle child. She spent the vast majority of her first year on this earth alternating between screaming her head off and warding off a variety of illnesses that inevitably landed us in the emergency room at 3 AM. She was born with a smooshed nose which led doctors to theorize that she didn't move much in utero, a theory further proven when she failed to crawl until she was 13 months old. Her complete lack of mobility lead to physical therapy appointments that involved me sitting with Mia around a series of large plastic toys screaming at the top of her lungs while the therapist shouted at-home exercises for us to try at home. True to form, Mia stubbornly refused to participate in my half-assed attempts of home therapy. She started walking at 14 months and I'm pretty sure it was her way of giving the medical community the middle finger.
Since then Mia has continued to embrace her middle child syndrome. She accepts Jack's constant abuse with adoration. She follows around her younger cousin Lydia. Her favorite color changes every week based on what's popular with her friends at school. She trips over her own feet, she runs into glass doors and she screams whenever someone even looks at her the wrong way.
And yet, she remains the sweetest, most loyal little girl on the planet. All of her friends at school shout her name when she walks into the classroom and teachers who she hasn't seen in years rush up to say hello and tell her how much they miss having her in their classroom. As my husband is fond of saying, Mia is like a teacher's wet dream. She loves school, follows every rule and treats everyone with the kindness she wishes her older brother would show her.
So you can imagine our complete shock when we found out she failed her kindergarten entrance exam.
What's that you say? You didn't know they had entrance exams for kindergarten? Well, they do. And apparently they're like super hard. They ask things like colors, shapes, and even ask children to identify their body parts.
After we got the dismal results of this exam I happened to overhear this conversation between Mia and my husband:
Ken: So, how did you like your kindergarten visit?
Ken: Did you answer all their questions?
Mia: Yes, Daddy. The teacher said I did good.
Ken: Right, so what kind of stuff did they ask you?
Mia: I don't know.
Ken: Well, where's your elbow? Did they ask you that?
Mia: [Points to her knee]
Ken: Seriously, Mia? That's your knee, how do you not know this stuff?
Whenver I encounter Mia issues I've gotten into the habit of consulting with my very own Middle Child expert, one Laura Roecker.
Laura's response to this most recent debacle: "Oh poor, Mia! She just doesn't test well! Remember that time when I just randomly filled in all the bubbles on my California Achievement Test because my friend told me it didn't count toward my grade? Mom and Dad had me enrolled in remedial classes until high school after that."
Well, lucky for us this situation was easily resolved with Mia's preschool teacher calling the school. She feels strongly that Mia is ready for kindergarten.
In the meantime, I finally broke out the Operation game I bought the kids for Christmas. Mia will be able to identify her femur by the time I'm done with her.