Sunday, March 16, 2008

That's a mighty big spirit you've got there

"You're always dancing down the street, with your suede blue eyes."


Today, a lady at church said: "Claudia, that child has a huge spirit. I hope you know that." Another time the same lady remarked that A "is a large presence." I smiled and thought to myself, "Yes, that's one of the names we call her . . . "

I hoped that she wasn't telling me, in some roundabout way, that my kid is a pill. I don't think so, though. For starters, this fellow church member is very nice and I think she genuinely likes my daughter. My mom used to have a friend who referred to her own children as "high-spirited." My mom always said, "High-spirited, huh? Is that just another word for 'horrible brat?'"

It goes without saying that it is my job to think that my daughter is adorable beyond all definition and, of course, borderline genius. She has impeccable comedic timing and makes me laugh every day. (Just to prove that I don't think she's perfect: her math skills are horrendous and she's as clumsy as they come. Also, she craps her pants.)

Everyone at church seems to like her. We sing a hymn during the first part of the service and A always dances and spins in the aisle (even during the subdued, hard-to-sing hymns). She talks loudly and laughs intermittently during the "candles of community" ritual, even when people are lighting candles of sorrow for illnesses and car accidents. During the children's story time today, she interrupted the pastor several times to tell her important facts about Teddy Bear, even though her anecdotes had nothing at all to do with the story that was being read. (I did pull her out of the front row after a while, for the record.) I'll tell you, though . . . there is nothing that a bunch of Unitarian Universalists like better than a free spirit, and my kid fits the bill.

It's weird having a kid who seems determined to cut a very wide swath through life, because P and I are generally pretty introverted. I find it very challenging to keep my head up when I walk through a public place, or to make eye contact with another person during a conversation, but my daughter has no such trouble. She introduces herself to strangers (I guess we'll need to have the "stranger talk" eventually, but for now it's more endearing than anything else.) She would never dream of walking with her head down, and I admire that quality more than she'll ever know.

Yesterday afternoon we made "carpet angels" in her bedroom. We laid on our backs, making wide arcs with our legs and arms. We made ourselves giggle and then couldn't stop. Earlier today we spent some time balancing plastic Easter eggs on top of our heads. It's very hard to take yourself too seriously when you spend your days with an (almost) three-year-old.
It wasn't a perfect day, though, because she spent a portion of it in time-out. The infractions were of the usual nature: not listening, listening but ignoring, etc. After she was released from time-out, she grabbed Teddy Bear, shoved him into the corner, and imposed his sentence: "Three minutes!" I asked what Teddy Bear had done, and she said he had stepped on one of the dogs. Teddy Bear, clearly, is incorrigible. We put her in time-out and she puts him in time-out. Shit, as they say, rolls downhill.

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