On Wednesday, I stopped by Millie's school in the mid-morning to pick her up for a doctor's appointment. (Semi-related side note: she had to have three days of antibiotic injections this week for her awful ear infections. Sad face...times three. And you better believe we are counting down the minutes until her ENT appointment later this month...) Although I normally go to her classroom twice a day, it's always when they're doing "free play" or something, since it's when most parents are dropping off and picking up the babies. On Wednesday, however, I happened to arrive during "group time."
On some level, I knew they did group time. I mean, it's on their official Classroom Schedule. And they send home lesson plans that indicate that they do stuff during group time. It's just that I've never seen it happen, so I kinda forgot that it was a thing. But on Wednesday around 10:45, it was group time. And also on Wednesday during group time, I happened to leave my phone in the car...so I have no photographic evidence of what I'm about to describe. I will do my best to paint a picture with my words, but I'm sure I can't do it justice. You'll just have to trust me when I say it was the greatest thing I've ever witnessed.
I come in the door that's at the back of the classroom, and as I enter, I can hear Ms. J reading a story. She's doing a great job with the voices and all, and as I peek in, I can see that the kids are all arranged on the rug with their backs to me, facing Ms. J. There weren't many kids there on Wednesday, so there were maybe three younger babies in exersaucers and bouncy seats, arranged in a semi-circle around Ms. J. These kids may have been physically part of group time, but they seemed to mostly be off in their own worlds- jumping, bouncing, and babbling. Which is totally fine...because they are like six months old. It's really the thought that counts here, I'm pretty sure. On the floor were the 'big kids,' Millie and her bestie S. S was sitting a few feet away from Ms. J, doing a little wiggling and looking around.
But then there was Millie. The child of my heart.
As I walked in, I immediately thought "oh no, I'm going to disrupt them!" Because obviously as soon as Millie heard or saw me, she would raise a ruckus in her frantic effort to GET TO MOMMY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, as she does every afternoon. There's usually happy shrieking, and bouncing, and spastic crawl-running (I think that's a thing.) So I already felt bad that I was going to bust up story time, which was going really well. (Did I mention that in addition to reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear and slowly showing the pictures around the circle for all the kids to see, Ms. J was also simultaneously shaking a pom-pom nonstop?? It was the funniest thing ever, but really smart. Perhaps for our younger friends, if the story doesn't interest them, the wavy red shaky thing will??)
But then I saw Millie. I almost didn't recognize her, because she wasn't bouncing or babbling or crawling or shaking or doing anything that she normally does. She was sitting: still as a statue, ramrod straight back, eyes with a laser-like focus on the book. Six inches from Ms. J. When Ms. J moved the book to the left, Millie's head followed to the left. When it came back around to the right, Millie's face tracked it perfectly. She was in. the. zone.
So I kinda crept around the back of the room over to where Millie's diaper bag and belongings were so that I could gather them. I was approximately three feet away from her, but just outside of her peripheral vision, so I managed to gather up her stuff without attracting her attention, which was ONE HUNDRED PERCENT focused on what that brown bear was seeing. I was really having a hard time not laughing, because I have just never seen a baby that young be so enthralled by like...anything. Anything that involved sitting perfectly still by herself, anyway.
I got her stuff together, but then realized I was going to need to fetch some other stuff from the other side of the room...and the only way to get there was going to be to walk behind Ms. J, right in front of the semi-circle of babies. Well, this will do it, I thought. No way she can miss me when I walk right in front of her.
I cross over, and the other babies all acknowledge my presence. S gives me a smile. I gather Millie's diapers and look over at her, expecting to receive another smile.
Negative, captain. Those eyes are only for Brown Bear.
So I cross back to the other side. This time I do it a little more slowly, pausing as I cross a few inches in front of my baby.
Nope. It is story time. Nothing but the story shall be acknowledged.
So I stand next to her other teacher, Ms. A, and we both start laughing. Yall must read to her a lot at home, she says. I have never seen a kid get so obsessed with books! Apparently this is a regular occurrence- when the books come out, Millie is in her element. We are standing about two feet away from Millie, talking in not-very-quiet voices, and still- NOT EVEN A GLANCE IN OUR DIRECTION.
I'm not gonna lie, she isn't even this still when she sleeps. I am slightly concerned she is paralyzed or something, but luckily, her head keeps tracking side to side with the moving book, so I don't have to worry too much.
Finally I realize that we're going to be late for our appointment if we don't start moving. I crouch down next to her, touch her arm, and say "Millie...Millie...Mama's here, it's time to go!"
She looks over at me and gives me a huge smile. Her eyes light up and she gives a short, happy shriek. I expect her to reach to be picked up, but I have obviously underestimated her passion for story time.
After checking "acknowledge Mom" off her to-do list, she turns right back around, crosses her legs, and stares straight back up at the book and Ms. J.
Mom, you are dismissed.
I was too proud of my little nerd-baby to even get my feelings hurt. Not even a year old and already prepping for her future book club!! She's even more brilliant than I knew.