I have this problem. When something goes wrong with Lillian (like yesterday when it took her a full half-hour to walk 50 yards because she had to look at, touch, smell, catalog every flower, plant, and bug that she saw while I'm yelling "COME ON! HURRY UP! GET OVER HERE!"), I'm far more likely to call someone and kvetch about it (I called my sister Allison and said, "I swear, she's got the brain damage and it's driving me crazy!") than if she does something sweet or cute. After 3 years of this, I think, at least to my family that does not live near me, I give off the general attitude that I don't actually like my children and feel constantly burdened by them and wish that I never had them.
This is not true. I do like my kids, I like being a mom, and I'm really, really glad that I have them.
So, here's my Top Ten Things I Like About Lillian list:
- I love her little voice. Everyone comments on it and says that it sounds so sweet, which it does.
- Like most kids, she says really funny things all the time. Once, out of nowhere, she said, "MOM, DAD! I like snakes!" "Oh, you like snakes?" Then, with an chuckle in her voice, she answered, "No, I don't like snakes." Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny. She also makes 'rules' about what's going on, probably to help her make sense of everything. We were sitting in choir at church (because she didn't want to play with the other kids in the nursery) and as the men were working out their parts, she said, "Only boys sing in choir. Girls don't get to sing." Or, "only moms can get the mail. Dad's aren't allowed."
- She's very polite. She says please and thank you for everything. Once, I had to give her some gross medicine and she said without a hint of sarcasm, "Thank you mom. That was yucky."
- She's very caring. If anyone around her is sad: me, Nora, kids in nursery, she's right there to hug them and say, "I know, it's ok."
- I love her active imagination. She's constantly pretending to be one princess or another and acting out scenes of various movies or cartoons. It's so cute.
- She's not destructive or violent. Sure, she makes messes, but it's very rare that she breaks something, or colors where she oughtn't, or gets into something and spreads it all over the walls, or whatever else kids do. And, once she figured out that Nora was a person, and not just some super annoying doll, it's very rare that she pushes/hits/bites her, or anyone else. In fact, I can think of only one time she pushed Nora over, and she...
- confessed right away, because she's bizarrely honest, and not just in a "why-are-you-so-fat?"-sort-of-kid way. I can ask her what happened and she'll say, "well, Nora was crawling on me and trying to steal my juice, so I pushed her off the couch."
- To go along with #6, she is hardly ever willfully disobedient, which is good and bad, because she is very smart. If I tell her not to do something, like not to wear shoes on the couch, she won't do it. Also, you are not allowed to do it either, and she'll call you on it. But, she's forever looking for loopholes, which are at times funny. Like, she'll put her shoes on her dolls and make them walk around on the couch, because, clearly, you meant only people weren't allowed to wear shoes on the couch. I find I have to laugh at myself because I start saying things like, "Ok, you can get out of the cart, but you are not allowed to pick up, touch, breathe on, or move anything on the shelves, you have to stay close to the cart, and try to keep one hand on the cart at all times, but don't push the cart, that's my job. You cannot hang on Nora's legs because that hurts her. Also, don't hang on my legs, because it's hard to walk when you do that. If you run away, or knock something over, you'll have to get back in the cart."
- She's genuinely excited about life. Tyler took her to the police station last night with the cub scouts and she can't stop talking in her excited little voice about the things she saw "MOM! There was a potty in the holding cell!" It makes me laugh.
- She's just the right amount of cuddly for me. You may or may not know this about me, but I require a lot of personal space and get claustrophobic really easily. Which is not to say that I don't enjoy cuddling with my kids, just not All The Time. And Lillian doesn't either. Sometimes, she wants to sit on top of me and read book after book after book, and I love it, and sometimes, she sits on her end of the couch, and I sit on mine, and we're both fine with that.