Friday, September 16, 2005

Friend or Foe?

Isn't that always the question? Well, at one of our school visits this week, some little girl named Elena latched on to Saia. Literally. She grabbed her hand out on the playground and dragged her everywhere she went for the next 15 minutes. At first, Saia was obviously flattered. She looked at me over her shoulder as she was being hauled away and smiled as she said, "She's holding my hand, Mama." But after 5 minutes, I was already beginning to see her inherited impatience swell as she (still simulating a smile) gently tried to pry Elena's little fingers from her wrist. At the 10 minute mark, her more temperate efforts having failed her, she began firmly planting her feet every couple of steps, which sort of jerked Elena's arm and made her at least turn around and acknowledge that something wasn't quite right. "Come on, come on," she would insist. And Saia, whom I've never known to be so accommodating, would reluctantly but trustingly go along with her. But by the time 15 minutes of this had passed, she was looking over her shoulder at me pretty regularly with this confused, almost pained, look on her face, and of course I wanted nothing more than to just get up and physically remove this child from her presence, but I mouthed and gestured to her instead to gently push her arm away and say No more, Elena. Which she did, gladly, several times, until she was finally able to free herself for a brief moment and hightailed it back towards me.

I was noticeably relieved when Elena lined up to go inside with a class that was NOT Saia's. And tried to reassure myself that Saia was patient with Chago, too -- in the beginning. But he's got his own battle scars now to prove that she'll only take so much. She'll be fine. I'm sure she will. But this is only the beginning.

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