I don't know what happened to Mia over the summer. She... expanded.
I think it has a lot to do with swimming. On Memorial Day, we could barely coax her to put her toes into the baby pool. By August, she had taught herself to swim. By the time the pool closed this month she could go an entire length, 25 yards, without stopping.
Last Spring, she did two highly-unsuccessful rounds of swimming lessons. The main goal of these lessons was to get the kids to put their faces in the water and blow bubbles. Not only did Mia never do that, but half the time she wouldn't even get in the water. The instructor (who Mia adores, that wasn't the problem) recommended that I move Mia down a level. Instead, after our summer at the pool, I moved her up a level. And at her first class, the instructor said she was too good and had to skip that level completely. At her next class, someone she had never met before told her to jump into five feet of water, and she did it without hesitation.
When Mia started preschool last Fall, she cried about it every day. And I don't mean she cried the two days a week that she actually had school, she cried every single day because she was going to have to go back to school at some point in the future. She cried about school every single day for four months. And then she was better for a while, and then in the Spring it started again. I was terrified when school started again, and Mia was stressed about it for weeks beforehand. And every morning, she runs the entire way from our house to her school, singing and yelling all the way that she loves school. On the first day, she ran straight into her classroom and it took her five minutes to remember to come tell me goodbye.
And I'm so proud of her I could burst. Mia has always been a little shy, and now she walks up to people in the grocery store and tells them her life story. She makes immediate friends with any kids she meets. She will go and do and try anything, and then compose and perform an operetta about the experience. Suddenly, she's confident, and outrageous. and larger than life, and I am in awe of her.