The South is certainly unique, but it does have one or two things in common with the North, East and West and everywhere in between: Wonderful, weird, adorable and confounding children. Children that make you want to want to hug and kiss them while simultaneously banging your head on a wall and pulling your hair out. Children that make you delirious with joy and delirious with sleep deprivation. Nose pickers. Cookie crumblers. Varmints.
As all of you know, I am the mother of two little girls, so I certainly don’t claim any learned insight into the rearing of little Y chromosomes. From what I can tell through observation, boys seem to be much more physically active and rambunctious. They are competitive. They are also pretty straight forward when it comes to their feelings. If they are happy, they laugh. If they are sad, they cry. If they are angry, they kick something.
On the contrary, girls are a little quieter at playtime, but—oh my good and merciful Lord—their emotions are a catastrophic quagmire of swamp goop. If they are happy, they cry. If they are sad, they cry. If they are angry, they cry and kick something. Any attempt by an adult to address the situation makes them cry louder and harder.
Many times the waterworks are infuriating:
Baby Belle 1 has an amazing knack for throwing speed bumps into any situation with a prolific use of tears and it never fails when I am in a hurry. The correlation is as follows: The greater the hurry I am in, the slower she goes.
Surely most of ya’ll have seen Gone With the Wind seeing as you’re reading this blog. Do you recall the part where Sherman is burning through Atlanta and Melanie has the misfortune to go into labor right at the same time? Scarlett sends Prissy to get the doctor. When Prissy goes home after striking out with the doc, she’s just ambling along the road, singing to herself and running a stick along a fence. The flames of the burning Atlanta are visible on the horizon, there is a life and death situation at home and she’s just piddling along without a care in the world.
Baby Belle 1 is my Prissy. I’m rushing around to get to work, school, church or whatever else and I have to tell her a bazillion times (actual mathematical number) to get her shoes on or get her glasses on or go potty or whatever and it’s like I am talking to a wall—a curly-headed, brown-eyed, pint-sized, adorable wall.
Okay, so I might get a little bit snappish as the situation drags out past the point of absurdity, but I am rapidly approaching a Catch-22: One too many huffing noises or a slight raise in the inflection of my tone and the dam breaks irretrievably. Baby Belle 1 stops mid-stride, in the middle of the floor or wherever she might be at the time, her face gets red and her little nose wrinkles and it’s off to the Oscars. She has to hand me her glasses because she is “getting tears on them.” I have to plead, wheedle and bargain with her to even get her to resume the glacial pace she was previously taking.
Sometimes the waterworks are baffling:
Baby Belle 1 became a posthumous fan of Michael Jackson. I’m not thrilled about it. Granted, the man was talented (I respect his music even though it isn’t my cup of tea), but I really don’t want to explain to my child the oddities of his personal life—real or imagined.
Two Christmases ago, she got a couple of MJ concert videos and music. About a month and a half later, Scott and I were sitting at the kitchen table reading the Sunday excuse for a paper when Baby Belle 1 comes into the kitchen with tears streaming down her face.
I couldn’t imagine what was wrong as she came in and sat on my lap. Had she been bitten by our possessed Chihuahua? Was she clipped by a falling ceiling fan? Was Jason Voorhees in the house? It took her a minute to get her to talk, but once she was finally able to get the heaving sobs slightly under control, she said, “Michael Jackson died!”
Well, I was a bit confused. The death of Michael Jackson certainly wasn’t news to her. To this day, I don’t know the catalyst for that swell of emotion. From time to time, the girl will just kind of spontaneously burst into tears—at least Michael Jackson isn’t the cause every time. She can call upon her tears with the ease of a great actress of stage and screen. Heck, maybe Baby Belle 1 will be a famous actress and I can actually retire...point to ponder...
On occasion, the waterworks are adorable:
Yes, Baby Belle 1 can drive me bat shit crazy with the drama, but sometimes she just so darned cute about it that I actually find my own self a touch misty.
During Baby Belle 1’s kindergarten year at St. Mary, I volunteered in her classroom during “center time.” Center time usually meant that I was helping with coloring, doing crafts (i.e., making an unholy mess) and even running the occasional Bingo table. I was there at least once a month—sometimes more than once.
Why would I feel the need to tout my volunteerism, you ask? I tell you this so you understand that the sight of me at the school wasn’t all that uncommon.
Several months into the school year, I was helping out in the classroom. I looked over and saw Baby Belle 1 quietly crying while coloring. I walked over and asked her what the matter was and she looked up with eyes sparkling with tears and said, “I’m just so happy you’re here!”
As for Baby Belle 2, she's only two years old, so she hasn't quite got the grasp of the crying thing. Of course, she's learning at the hands of the master, so I am very likely screwed six ways to Sunday. She can already throw ber bottom lip out so far that a person could nearly trip on the thing.
Heaven help me.