Freed of her sneakers and penguin backpack, Sadie ran right inside this morning, and discovered the book corner, the mat with the duplo blocks, the clay station, and the table with water wheels and yellow smocks on the chairs. She stuck a laminated hot air balloon (upside down) with her name on it onto the wall where a blue sky and fluffly white clouds were painted. She didn't understand that she was supposed to leave it there, and by the same token, not un-stick the handful of other laminated balloons with other names and redistribute them around the room. The frustration had started.
She sat on the carpet with the others, briefly, and accepted the offer to put the orange "Tuesday" card on the rectangle space on the wall where someone had already affixed a gray "Cloudy" tag. She danced a little to the songs, but didn't clap. She observed the bathroom break with great curiosity.
Like a little lemming, she followed the others into the corrider. They started emptying the shelves, and she too started to grab shoes and hats. "Let's put those back, Sadie," an adult gently told her. She looked confused. Then, "Your cubby is over here. See your shoes?"
Green sneakers upon her feet and her brand-new sunhat velcroed under her chin, she seemed to be thinking that she was going to be set free at least. No matter how much she struggled to open the door leading to outside, she was met with the resistence of an adult hand on the door handle and a "Today it is Hugo's turn to open the door". A few frustrated and confused tears were shed here in the corridor.
Outside, she had a turn on the swing, scooped some sand and rinsed off her feet afterward, was excluded from the playhouse by some of the others, tried to ask for a drink of water (successful), and pushed herself around in a big purple car.
And then she was done. She stood firmly in the corrider again, as the others filed past her, through the door, to wash their hands and sit down for a snack. "Shall we get your penguin-pack?" I asked. She nodded, looking tired, confused, and overwhelmed all at the same time. "Okay, we'll come back tomorrow."