Ike's preschool teacher said that phrase at least five times this morning, during our parent/teacher conference. So I'm thinking Ike has finally found his post-Baby-Ike nickname of Mighty Zah proportions. His Inherent Ikeness. The one, the only. Lords and ladies of the court, please bow before His Inherent Ikeness.
She used the phrase to sum up his personality, particularly his penchant for testing every single limit, rule and boundary, over and over and over, like how the raptors in Jurassic Park hurled themselves at the electric fences in search of weakness.
"Ike, time to come sit in the circle!"
"Ike, you can't play the name game unless you're sitting in the circle."
(Ike crosses his arms and looks staight in her eyes, defiant and yet trying desperately not to smile. Has he got her now? He's totally got her now.)
(Teacher begins the name game anyway, ignoring his tiny rebellion.)
(This is the opposite of what Ike wants. Panic! Mayday! Abort!)
(Ike immediately busts his butt over to the circle, then stops to give his teacher a quick hug and a sheepish smile before sitting down, just to confirm that she ain't mad at 'em, because how could she be mad at 'em? He just playin'. The name game is the bomb. Come give us a cuddle.)
Beyond this (HIS INHERENT IKENESS, THAT IS), he's doing so, so wonderfully well at school that any working mom guilt I had about putting my 2-year-old in a five-day program was immediately replaced with completely pointless guilt over NOT doing the same for Noah and Ezra. Winning! You cannot have it. But really, there's nothing like knowing your child is exactly where he should be, blossoming developmentally and socially, while also having a blast there, surrounded by people who like him and think he's neat.
His Inherent Ikeness, by the way, probably sounds brattier than it really is. He understands limits and rules and — unprompted — he's an incredibly helpful, well-mannered little guy. He's quick to jump in and clean up messes and put things in their proper place, and always helps his peers when they're frustrated. He says please and thank you and is kind and considerate.
He's also incredibly two, which means he's trying to figure out exactly where all the lines are and what happens when he crosses one. Anything you ASK him to do (or stop doing) will get the default answer of NO. Every damn time.
But provided you don't let yourself get sucked into his game — as his teacher has already zen-mastered with an all-purpose "Okay" followed by a devastating "Ignore" — he will immediately hop right back over that line and do whatever it was you asked him to do. Every damn time.
And then he'll hurl his arms desperately around your legs and bury his face in the back of your knees, in search of a hug and a kiss and the assurance that it's okay. That you still love him. That your fence is still there, secure and electrified, to always keep him safe.