"She has really come out of her shell, hasn't she?"
One of Lola's preschool teachers said that to me recently as I went to pick her up to go home. Lola was talking a mile-a-minute, jabbering on about having had peanut butter during school that day.
I agreed, noting that things seemed to have really clicked into place for her in the last two weeks.
The teacher said she had assumed - as I did as well - that Lola, our shy girl, would have returned from vacation, after nearly two weeks off of school, having regressed back into herself a bit.
Instead, the opposite happened.
Before Disney, every single drop-off in the mornings ended with me prying Lola's hands from my own, or from my leg, and practically dragging her into the gymnasium to a teacher, who would then take hold of her hand and lead her away from me.
It wasn't so much that she cried at every goodbye; it was more whimpering and soft, sad, scared goodbyes.
Every single (preschool) morning.
But on her first day back to school, we went to the gym hand in hand, not because Lola was afraid to go in, but because she thought it would be fun to skip with Mommy the whole way. (I figured why not? At least she wasn't begging me not to leave for once.)
At the gym doorway, she gave me a quick, light hug and bounded inside, right past the teacher who usually coaxes her away from me.
The teacher and I exchanged a confused, relieved, smile with one other before going our separate way.
I figured it was a fluke.
But then, on next school day, I didn't even get to the gym.
Lola stopped to give me a hug about halfway down the hallway.
"I'm going to go by myself today, Mommy," she announced, so proud of herself.
I grinned, hugged her back, and wished her a happy, successful day.
We've had nothing but progress since.
So what happened?
I think, during Disney, Lola tried new things, lived through new experiences and loved them. She went on roller coasters, underwent a makeover, learned to swim a bit. And even if she didn't love a new experience (i.e. go-carts), nothing terrible happened. She survived.
Specifically, though, I think it was meeting Princesses that truly affected her. For the first Princess - Merida - she insisted that I go with her. But after that, she insisted on going alone (except when she met Jasmine and Aladdin - Aladdin's presence, for some reason, prompted her to need my split-second support).
But she did nearly all of the Princess meetings on her own. Not just going up to say hi, but talking with them, asking for photographs, posing for photos.
She gained confidence in herself.
Even now, she'll proudly announce to anyone who will listen that she met all the Princesses at Disney World ... and she did it by herself.
I think that spread into her "regular" life as well.
We're proud of her.
So very proud.
- Bethany :)