Having written about raising my son now has me thinking about raising my daughter. Now, while my son was into everything and saw child safety-locks as a fun but simple challenge, my daughter, on the other hand, never got into things like that. She never touched things she wasn't supposed to, even as a baby. Case in point, I had two porcelain dolls that were so big they stood on either side of our mantle. She would crawl up and look at them. Yep, she’d just sit and stare at them, but she never touched them-not once!
She never got into poisons or medicines. The closest approximation to nearing my son was once, she wanted to help me clean the bathroom. I gave her a spray bottle of diluted Mr. Clean and water and a clean rag and showed her how to squirt the bathtub and rub it with the cloth. She liked the idea and got to “work”. Meanwhile I was cleaning the sink and I looked up often to check on her. Alas, she was still a child. The next time I looked to check, she was gone. I turned, only to find her squirting her baby brother’s bald head with the Mr. Clean and wiping it off, just as I had shown her with the bathtub. She said she was cleaning bubba. My heart stopped! I had to call Poison Control naturally, only to be reassured it was probably okay and had me check his breath and eyes and he turned out just fine. She really thought she was doing something helpful, and at this point, Poison Control had become very familiar with my son.
No, my daughter never got into things she wasn’t supposed to. She didn’t rebel, she didn't smoke or slack off in school. She never made bad friends. Oh no, those things were not her downfall. The only thing I ever wanted to strangle my own darling offspring over was - her temper. Oh, that girl has a temper! Imbued in that tiny little body of hers is a fiery, spirited temperament that Satan himself wouldn't cross. And it's all the worse because she normally looks like a little person-sized kitten. She’s all of five and a half feet tall, and weighs a hundred pounds soaking wet. She has big, soft green eyes, pixie features, high cheekbones, a heart shaped face, perfect little ears and a delicate nose. It looks like the angels themselves built her. Until you Piss! Her! Off! At that point you begin to remember that the Devil was said to have started off as an angel too.
There is this scene in The Avengers when Hulk yanks Loki up by the ankles and smashes him over and over into the floor before discarding Loki and walking away mumbling “Puny god”. This is my daughter. A god would need all of its deific powers to stand against the anger in this child. Us mere mortals who had to raise her and be within arms-reach of her as she grew up into the delightful person she is now, stood no chance against the fire that brewed within my precious baby girl. Fortunately she was never sulky, she’d get pissed off at times only to let you know in no uncertain terms how she felt about you and the horse you rode in on, then she’d cool off and apologize if she was in the wrong. Indeed, raising the Keeper of The Gates of Hell makes you find the silver lining where you can.
Now that the teenage hormones have worked their way out of her system and she has grown up some, she has calmed down quite a bit; otherwise I'm sure she she would have honed her powers by now and taken over the world in a fiery rage.
I have to say though that no one has ever gotten away with trying to push this child around. She will take a certain amount of nonsense and usually she will take more than I would deal with. She isn't a very confrontational person, but once you push her past her tolerance point, watch out. One can see it in her face. The steely metamorphosis begins: A calm, serene look settles over her features. It truly is a piercing countenance that can be scarier than any angry, yelling, screaming psychopath you'd ever encounter. A stillness settles over her that is downright unnerving. My only advice to anyone at that point is summed up in one word: Run. If you have chocolate on you try throwing it in one direction while you run in the opposite direction, but no matter what - RUN!
In all truthfulness though, I am crazy proud of my kids. They are really great people. Raising them may have aged me prematurely, but it also gave me the best laugh lines, the happiest memories, grey hairs of worry and ultimate reassurance. I wouldn't trade one stretch mark, one ounce of fat, one wrinkle or sag for the joy I got from having and raising my guys. Whether they were being daredevils or just plain devils, they are my life and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Have a great day, hug your kid, and remember this fun fact: A three year old boy’s voice is louder than two hundred adults in a crowded restaurant. True story.