The quirks of my children are reward for every hard part of parenting. They’re also the reason for the hard parts of parenting, but they’re oh-so-fun.
2-year-old Emma is decisive and bold. When we pulled up to the dentist the other day, she announced, “Mom, I’m not going to open my mouth.” Thankfully, her big sister convinced her otherwise.
When she gets in bed each night, she assesses her stuffed animals. She has two dinosaurs and an elephant who always receive preferential treatment. Their spot in the hierarchy of crib animals is never called into question as they are always in her arms. But the zebra and giraffe? Well, their worth is carefully evaluated each night.
“I don’t like Giraffe tonight!” she’ll angrily shout at us as she plucks the offending mammal by its long neck and hurls it to the foot of her crib. Then she’ll sweetly snuggle in next to one of her dinosaurs and whisper sweet nothings, happy as can be. We slowly back out of the room, pitying the giraffe, but glad we aren’t him.
“I like Zebra today!” she’ll announce with her hands in the air some mornings when I retrieve her from the crib.
“Oh, that’s good,” I’ll sing-songy say to her, acting as if her madness makes complete sense to me.
We’ve started asking her opinion of the giraffe and zebra before we lay her down each night, so as to avoid the angry hurling of African beasts.
“Do you like the giraffe tonight?” I asked the other night.
“Yes,” she decisively said, and I slowly picked him up to place him near her head.
“Ummm… I don’t fink I like Giraffe anymore,” she quickly changed her mind.
Back down to her feet he went. The poor, dejected giraffe. At least there was no shouting.
“It’s a good thing she’s cute,” I say at least 10 times a day.
Then there are the new quirks emerging in our 6-year-old. These quirks are more indicative of personality traits than of silly, fickle 2-year-old behavior. (Because the 2-year-old’s strange and angry preference for certain stuffed animals is just silly, fickle 2-year-old behavior, right? We’re counting on that.)
The 6-year-old left this note for Dad the other night.
I’ll translate: “Dear Dad, I love you Thank you for remembering to give me letters. I… love you!
But notice, she’s edited herself. It looks like she was trying her hand at cursive, but feared Dad wouldn’t be able to read what she had written. So she used parentheses and arrows to indicate her message. We laughed ourselves silly when we saw the note, and then realized the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I’ve been editing myself since I could write. Here, in this journal entry, I went back with blue pen and “corrected” my 1st grade spelling.
“She’s definitely your daughter,” my husband said as we read her edited note. This is a saying we find ourselves using frequently lately. When the 6-year-old studies a contraption and figures out how it works, she’s definitely her dad’s daughter. When she takes pleasure in writing lists and keeping track of the days on the calendar by checking them off, she’s definitely my daughter.
So the question is: When the 2-year-old has a fit of epic proportions about an offensive stuffed giraffe, who’s daughter is she?
I’m blaming my husband. But only because he isn’t here to defend himself.