I hear a pair of common criticisms/complaints/concerns when I write about my kids. And though they may not know it, those concerns, etc., are related. Not referring to the kids themselves there, specifically. The first is that I am overly critical of Mira — that I talk about how much trouble she is, and how hard it is to get her to do basic things like sit on a chair, keep clothes on once they’re on, or not terminate her little sister with extreme prejudice.
You see — there I go again.
People are worried that I might give Mira a complex, or ignite a self-fulfilling prophecy of felonious behavior. They’re worried that some day she’s going to read these things or hear these things and it’s going to make her feel unloved. I would argue quite the contrary. Anyone who reads my regular updates on my personal Facebook page and the comments that follow will see one overwhelming trend.
Everyone loves Mira.
They love those stories. They love her attitude. They love her uniqueness and complete unwillingness to concede defeat or even acknowledge absolutes like the law of gravity. They love her spirit and fire. They love her humor and charm. They love her randomness. And 100% beyond the shadow of a doubt so do I. I love Mira, and I tell her so all the time. I will never not love her, no matter what she does. I can never forget how hard we had to struggle just to bring her into this world. Why shouldn’t it be a struggle the rest of the way?
But the fact is that she is, and probably always will be, my problem child. Anyone who has met our family and her would be delusional to think otherwise. I would rather face facts and meet it head on than to deny that there isn’t any problem there and let it grow unchecked. I do believe that much of it will be outgrown. Some of it already has. She’s no longer homicidal, which is a big plus for us. You might think I’m joking again, but I’m not. At least not very much.
But as for the jokes I do make, I submit to you the Spider-Man defense. Spider-man is the stand-up comic of the Superhero world. Well, besides Plastic Man. He tells jokes and gives one-liners as he clobbers bad guys, and even his friends wonder if he’ll ever shut up during a fight. But when pressed on it, Spider-Man has admitted that “if [he] wasn’t joking, [he]’d be petrified.” The same thing applies here. If I wasn’t laughing with/at Mira during these antics, I think I’d probably develop yet another complex worrying about it. Today, for instance, was a day that I had a hard time finding the humor in it, and I felt like barricading myself in the bedroom and letting Mira smear herself with war paint and run around with a spear until Becky got home.
So I write about Mira because it makes me smile. It reminds me of all these precious moments that don’t seem precious now, but will some day when we have the REALLY big fights I know we’re going to have down the roads when our mutual stubbornness butts heads over and over.
There’s a second complaint I hear. Maybe you forgot that I mentioned two. Or, conversely, maybe you were thinking it while I was rattling on about Mira again. And that complaint is this — what about Kirsten? We almost never hear anything about her! Well, let me give you a sample of what I always want to write when I think about Kirsten.
Kirsten is perfect.
Yes, yes, I know. Not two weeks ago I just said you do a danger to kids by not deflating the notion of perfection, but even knowing that, this is often the way I feel. Kirsten is a perfect child. How perfect? She tells me when she needs a nap. She tells me when it is bedtime. If I ask her to put her shoes and coat away or throw away a piece of trash she does it happily. She rarely screams and one of her first words was “hug.” Last night at the end of a bad day, she gave me a top ten all time snuggle. It was so nice that when I asked her if she wanted to go “night-night”, I was just waiting for her to say “no” so I could say “ok” and keep her with me. But she didn’t. She nodded yes, and when I put her down to bed, she covered herself up and waved goodbye. And did I mention that Kirsten is one year old?
Ok. Now read those above two paragraphs from Mira’s perspective, and ask yourself which would hurt more: having humorous anecdotes written about your explosive and unpredictable personality, or having to read that your father has sat with your younger sister on his lap and actually wondered if this might have been what it was like for Joseph and Mary when Jesus was a baby.
Which do you think would hurt more?
In time, Kirsten will almost certainly come down to earth and Mira will certainly have to grow up. But they are such opposites right now and one is decidedly easier on my nerves and blood pressure. But it does not mean I love Mira any less for feeling that way or Kirsten any less for not writing about her, or Emily any less for not mentioning her name
once twice in this post. But the fact is that Mira needs the attention and Kirsten is content without the spotlight. So Mira gets the attention.
But she has to accept that she’ll get it with my notebook in one hand and a fire extinguisher in the other.