Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Littlest turns thirteen today.

I have three daughters, Eldest, Middlest, and Littlest; today Littlest turns thirteen. Please feel free to insert emotionally charged ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ now. Thank you.

I must disclose that Littlest is no longer the littlest. She is taller than her sisters are.  Apparently, while the rest of the family sleeps, she grows. This probably explains why she hates getting up in the morning. Instead of resting, she has spent the entire night engaged in getting taller. One particular morning she seemed to have grown an exceptional amount the previous night and I observed, “Littlest, I think you grew another foot over night.”

She looked down and said, “Nope Dad, I still only have two of them.”

Littlest has always been a strong willed child. When she was an infant, we laid a baby gate across the stairs because they were too wide for the gate to fasten correctly. For Eldest and Middlest this deterred them from crawling upstairs. Not for strong willed Littlest. She got that fiery glint in her eye and she tugged and grunted and grunted and tugged on that gate until it was out of the way. Then she crawled upstairs and explored.

She explored freely, crawling from room to room, investigating as only an infant can do. When she had concluded her exploring, she would stop at the top of the stairs and grunt. If I did not respond quick enough she would grunt louder and longer, as if to say, “Hey you large person with hairy face and lush head of hair, come and get me down. I may be persistent and strong willed, but I am not dumb. I am not crawling down these stairs without parental supervision and assistance.”

This strong streak worries me now that she has entered the notorious age of being a teenager. Littlest still loves to investigate and explore. She examines every situation and rule for any possible loophole. Her school, like every other school, does not allow cell phone use during the school day. This rule is an open invitation for her to test the theoretical loopholes. Her mind eagerly works through the potential situations when a student could legally use a cell phone at school. “What if there was a fire?”

“They have fire alarms.”
“What if we lost electricity?”
“Why would you call me? I can’t fix it.”
“What if a Mongol horde descended upon the school?”
“Littlest, they would never do that. They would be terrified of the TSA pat-down process at the border, and the crack team of security guards will keep you safe. Besides, you don’t have a cell phone.”
This observation quieted her for exactly a few milliseconds. Then she got that fiery look in her eye and said, “But if I did…..”

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