May 31, 2013

My Daughters, Growing Up By Accident

I know this may come as a shock to those of you who get all of your contact with young children from episodic television, but children actually grow up without the actors being replaced.  Occasionally, you have moments that could be considered episode lessons, where you child has an epiphany about their behavior and they are changed forever, hugging the kid they bullied, repairing Mr. Johnson's fence without being asked, fessing up to smashing the window the baseball and blaming their little brother.  Usually these don't happen.

The epiphanies usually come from the parents, and usually in the form of "Holy crap! This kid is older than they used to be!"

With Harper, it came in the form of complete sentences.  She now says things like "Dad, I don't think I would like some popcorn just yet.  I'll wait a little bit."

For Brynn, It has been more gradual.  Since Harper talks so much, Brynn is much less verbal, allowing her sister to speak for her when they are together.  As a result of this, her growing up has been more in facial expressions and body language, which can be overlooked.

About a year ago, once she was able to pull herself into the chair, I found her sitting with her legs crossed in a way that I would expect from a lady in Victorian England.  I often find her simply watching interactions between myself and Harper, or between Sara and Harper, her head moving back and forth, quietly analyzing the interplay as though remembering what to tell her therapist in 30 years.

In addition to these, watching them develop personalities has been fascinating as well.  I expected that they would pick up many of the traits and preferences that Sara and I have simply through exposure and, to be sure, they have.  They have, however, developed plenty of their own, many of which I cannot explain or even find an origin for.  For example, they both LOOOOOVE to wear dresses.  Anyone who knows my wife knows that she wears dresses when the occasion calls for it, but she's a jeans and t-shirt kind of woman.  As is her mother, my mother, and pretty much every important female figure in their girls lives.

That being said, when we ask the girls what they want to wear, conversations go as follows:
Me: "Good morning, sweetie! What do you want to wear today?"
H: "I want to wear a dress today!"
Me: "I know you do, but there are 4 inches of snow on the ground and a dress isn't warm enough.  Can you pick something with sleeves and legs?"
H: "But I WANT to wear a dress."
Me: "I know, baby, but it's too cold out. We can wear a dress when it gets warmer."
H: "Daddy, I will wear pants and a shirt and THEN a dress."

My children treat normal clothes as though they are the undergarments that allow them to wear dresses in winter.  Brynn is perfectly content wearing nothing but a tutu, where she will walk around and tell anyone who is willing to make eye contact with a half-naked toddler in a tutu that she's a "ballaweena!"

If she likes you, she doesn't care about your skin color, or what material you're made from.

 With the impending end of the school year in the next week, I will begin my stint as stay-at-home-dad for the summer.  Last year was fun, but a little easy since Brynn wasn't walking much.  I could stick her in the stroller and let Harper do what she needed.  This summer, Brynn is much more independent and I have to think much harder about what we can do without them running in opposite directions.  I plan to still take them for a walk every morning that it's not raining and, behavior willing, I'll be taking them out to breakfast as well.

There are lots of playgrounds and parks to explore as well as the zoo and museums for children.  I'm looking forward to the summer.

But I'm not looking forward to my little girls growing up.
More of this, but with less me...
Getting there...




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