I am not sure how this will go, but I wanted to capture some of my thoughts for you so perhaps someday you can look at them, have a good laugh, and remember life before whatever joys, heartbreak, or excitement you are experiencing when you read this.
Genevieve, today you got in trouble for the first time at day care. It was kind of an important moment for you and for us. You might be wondering what your earth-shattering crime was, but we will get to that. More importantly, it was the first time that someone other than your (admittedly lax) parents corrected your behavior. You got in trouble for something we let you do at home, which is actually more dangerous the way we let you than the way you did it at school. It’s not that we think “its fine” or a good idea or even safe at home when you do it, but my little demon child, you just won’t take “no” for an answer so we kind of gave up fighting you.
Sad part it, I kind of respect you for it. Yes, it is kind of stupid, but I *like* that you take risks, that you want to see things from a new perspective, and that you solve some of the most basic “baby” problems by yourself. The ladies at Day Care, however, see your predilection of dancing on tables a little disconcerting.
To be fair, they just want to make sure they aren’t the ones responsible when you crack your head open, and they don’t want the other kids following suit, so I understand why they said no. There are also certain cultural implications of dancing on tables that I will probably leave for another time, except to say here that I should probably stop making jokes like that about my daughter.
I guess this means we should be tougher about it at home, but short of traumatizing you to the idea (which we don’t want to do), I am not sure how best to stop you. I mean, I already admit that doing it is a sign of future risk-taking, something I hope you can do in a rational, enjoyable way. But for now, Ill just see if gently removing you will have the desired effect.
I hope that when you are old enough to read this, you are still the kind of person who is willing to take risks for real gain, fall down on occasion and have a good cry, but then get right back up and try again. I hope that you will someday be able to look at a situation and say “well, I guess I could get hurt” but that isn’t enough to deter you from trying. Fear can be a crippling thing, and I see in you the potential to handle it better than I, or most people, ever hope to.
Another thing I hope you hold onto is your attitude when you are sick. Somewhere early on, deep in your infant mind, you put two and two together and realized that you got more cuddles by being happy and that you wanted more cuddles when you were sick. You are the happiest sickie I have ever seen. Granted, when snot is pouring out of your face, you are hacking up a lung, and you are vomiting like a volcano, it isn’t the most pleasant time for *us* to be manhandling you, but I am willing to pay that price any day to see you smiling up at me despite the body fluid nightmare you bring with each grin.
I would also like to put in an official request of you at 21 months that perhaps you could be a little less adorable when you are upset. It breaks my heart, and makes things like the aforementioned discipline that much harder. Your lower lip curls into the most cherubic tragedy mask, your eyes quiver, a single tear rolls down your cheek like a big glistening challenge to my authority, and your neck vanishes into your chin. What am I supposed to do against that? I mean, I can be a jerk sometimes (I know you know that by now), but c’mon, really?
Maybe you will know what I mean someday, when your genes start tugging at your heart strings when you hear a baby cry or see a sad face on a toddler who *just wants one more cookie*. That will be my revenge. Well, that and having a senile old man making inappropriate jokes and forgetting to put on pants hanging around your house. (To be fair, I am kind of like that now, I don’t see it getting better as you grow up.)
I know I will mortify you sometimes, I will piss you off to no end, I will confuse you, torment you, embarrass and offend you. My goal is that through all of that you always remember deep down (in that lizard part of your brain that remembers how to get home after a night of dancing) you remember I love you, support you, and see somewhere inside you that same little girl who smiles when she is sick, and sobs gently when its bedtime, and still climbs on tables in day care, even when it gets her in trouble for the very first time.