The last vestiges of winter, a little failed reverse psychology for a little girl who’s too smart for your own good, and a little must-carry-out-the-silly-threat-to-teach-you-a-lesson parenting ethos lead to more embarrassment than I care to admit. I really hope you grow up to appreciate the things I had to go through as a dad, Cookie.
Me: Cookie, it’s surprisingly cold today. Wear your hat.
Me: Cookie, I don’t want you to get sick. Wear your hat.
Me: If you don’t wear your hat, I’m going to wear it.
Cookie: Okay. You wear it.
Me: If I wear it, you can’t wear it.
Me: Don’t tell me you want to wear it later. I won’t give it to you.
Me: Are you sure you won’t get jealous later?
[Please don’t make me wear this.] Last chance. [Let me keep my dignity.] It’s your favorite hat.
Cookie: No, I don’t want my hat, Daddy.
Lesson learned: that’s the last time I make silly threats.
If anyone saw a grown man walking around the city wearing a Hello Kitty hat, holding the hand of an evilly grinning but hatless toddler a couple weeks ago, that was I. Hello.
I should probably remember that all the little scares I have about what the future may hold are simply little quirks from a toddler’s highly imaginative mind.
Cookie sitting in an Uber van on the way back from the airport: Daddy, when I grow up, I’m not going to get married.
[YAY, no more teenage marriage/pregnancy with eight kids and no job!] Oh?
Cookie: No. When I grow up, I’m going to buy a big car and drive you and Mommy around.
Mommy: You’re going to give us rides?
Cookie: Yep. Where ever you want to go. I’ll live with Mommy and Daddy forever.
[D’oh!] … Umm… That’s very sweet, Cookie.
I’m not sure exactly why it started, but every Easter morning, we set up a miniature Easter egg hunt for you in the living room. It started when you were a few months old when I bought a dozen plastic eggs. Over the years, you attended various Easter egg hunts at various events, and this year (late last night) when I ran out of hiding spaces in the living room, I suddenly came to the realization that you’ve adopted my packrat ways. In three years, you’ve accumulated 138 and 5/2 (unmatched halves) eggs. How?
Mommy and I, fearful that you’d accumulate those cheap plastic eggs that will never degrade, intentionally bought you a little basket that couldn’t hold that many eggs in the first place. As you don’t like candy anyway, Cookie, we’re the family that gives away our eggs at every Easter egg hunt. 138! (and 5/2).
Maybe the Easter Bunny is real, and he lays cheap plastic eggs all over our house. Litterbug.
You haven’t played with this toy since you were six months old. I think the only reason why I haven’t gotten rid of the alligator is that he’s such a great hiding place for Easter eggs. You always give him a double take.
Just when I’m wrenching my arm out patting myself on the back for raising an independent and strong little girl, you pulled the rug right out from under me.
Cookie: Look, Daddy, I’m pushing my imaginary stroller.
Me: Uh huh.
Cookie: It’s got a seat up here, and one up here, and one up here, and one up here, and one back there, and one back there, and one down there, and one down there.
Me …4, 5, 6..: Cookie, you’ve got 8 kids?!?
Cookie: Almost, I have one still in my tummy.
Me: Wow, Cookie, that means you’re going to be very busy.
Cookie: Yeah, I’ll need two kitchens to cook for my kids and my husband.
Mommy: Your husband doesn’t cook?
Cookie: No, he has to work. I’m staying home to raise the kids.
Cookie: It’s a big house with two kitchens. He makes a lot of money. We’ll get married at 19.
I see that we have a lot of work to do.
My blissful Sunday morning sleep was interrupted by a jarring CRASH. I’m still groggy and blinking the sleep from my eyes when the bedroom door opens.
Cookie holding out a hand: Everything is ok.
Cookie: Do you know what that crash was?
Mommy and I sleepily shake our heads.
Cookie: That was my Rubik’s Cube. Don’t worry, I’ll fix it with my tools.
The sounds of your little footsteps running down the hall are followed immediately by the sounds of hammering.
Three warring thoughts enter my head.
I’m so proud that you’re going to know your way around tools. I tend to fix things around the house, and you’ve always followed me around asking to help, and you’ve always been disappointed when I asked you not to touch the heavy or sharp tools and the less than healthy chemicals (responsible parenting isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be). After we bought you your own toolset, however, you proudly carried that thing around the house looking for to fix. That’s my girl.
Proud as I am, there’s a little nagging worry in my head (I’m such the responsible parent, as you know) about that loud crash. What happened? What did you break? You’re obviously not extensively injured, since you walked over and told us so. There’s no smell of smoke. I guess I don’t feel so bad if I…
Sleep. Blissful sleep… for three more minutes.