She found them as she was rummaging through the sensory table in my toddler classroom: little pebbles spray painted gold to inspire fantasies of pirates and buried treasure in the imaginations of littles. It worked, I guess, because she scooped three of them up carefully, washed them in the sink, and clutched them to her chest.
“Can I keep them at home, mom?” she asked without whining.
I nodded and asked her to help me take the excess sand from the sensory table out to the playground and dump it.
“Can I take my treasure?”
I nodded, again.
I was dumping sand when a pair of bouncing brunette braids appeared and said, “hey Scout’s mom? Can I have a gold rock too?”
Before I could reply, two other preschoolers flanked the girl with the braids and added their pleas for some treasure.
I giggled a little, knowing what they wanted was literally the rocks they were standing on with just a bit of paint. Just the simplicity of it made me smile.
“Guys, I don’t have any gold rocks. Scout has the last three.”
In hindsight, I shouldn’t have put her on the spot like that. I saw my mistake unfold as the three begged earnestly for just one rock, pleeeeeaaaase.
Scout looked at me and grinned nervously. I was about to step in when she said, “well I only have three and if I give you each one, I won’t have any.”
Math, y’all. My preschooler just mathed. I was distracted by her awesomeness and achievement in an area I continue to struggle to this day.
Regardless, she paused a moment and then handed each one of her friends a shining pebble, subsequently making their entire lives it would seem from the squeals and cheers that erupted.
I was stunned. Math and selflessness? She’s not mine. Check the hospital records.
We walked back from the playground and I praised her like the fan-girl I am for being so awesome and cool and such a great friend. She just grinned at me and said, “I love you, mommy.”
Tonight we read a story together and I cuddled in next to her as she sucked her thumb and gently rubbed my arm with her fingertips. I asked her why she chose to give her friends her rocks, because I hadn’t thought to ask her before.
“I’m not sure,” she said with her eyebrows furrowed together.
I patted her curls and kissed her forehead to tell her that reply would suffice. Not everything has to have a reason, sometimes it just is.
She had been quiet for several minutes and I thought she was asleep when she said “mommy?” much more alert than I had expected.
I was a little annoyed when I responded, “You’re not asleep? What?
She cuddled in and and whispered, “you’re my favorite kind of gold.”
*photo credit: Sum and Substance Photography.