My husband had a rather wild adolescence, so whenever our youngest child does anything remotely sneaky, I blame my husband. Now, one could argue that my husband had a rather normal adolescence, and I had a completely abnormal one. I was, in fact, so straight-laced as a teen, my freshman year in college I received the nickname the pure one, or simply Po for short. Not only did I never get drunk, I never drank at all. I never smoked, did drugs, stole anything, or snuck out of the house. I never cheated on a test, and I never lied. I skipped school once and after fifteen minutes of sitting with my friends at the donut shop, I found a pay phone and called my mom to tell her I was skipping school. I was concerned she would worry if the school called her to report my absence. The truth is, I was well into my thirties before I was even in the same room as someone smoking pot. I am not entirely sure how I avoided all the normal pitfalls of puberty, I was either very naïve or wise beyond my years; I am still not sure which.
My youngest, who takes after her father in many ways, has a keen understanding of the moments she is left unsupervised. The second I step into the shower, the moment I go to retrieve the mail, the very instant I answer a phone call, she bursts into action. I call this behavior doodle-poppin’. My definition of doodle-poppin’ is exhibiting mischievous behavior which is too funny to punish.
Monday, while I was weeding the yard, Ella made “soup,” which basically means she filled my stock pot with water and dumped in ten dollars worth of paprika and oregano.
Wednesday, while I was in the shower, Ella took all the wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift bags out of the closet and wrapped up stuff she owns. When I discovered the mess spread from one end of the hall to the other, Ella began giving me these wrapped up items as gifts.
“This is a present for you, Mommy.”
How do you yell at a four-year-old who just handed you a stuffed rabbit wrapped in Christmas paper with the ears sticking out?
Then she handed me a gift bag. I pulled out yards of ribbon and sheets of tissue. “I don’t think there is anything in here,” I said.
Ella surveyed me with a disdain one might feel for a spoiled child asking for candy. “The ribbon is the gift, Mom.”
“Of course it is. I love green ribbon!!”
Today, while I was answering emails, Ella took paint and markers and colored all her doll furniture. When I discovered the messy project, Ella could see the frustration on my face.
“I know you think this is doodle-poppin’,” she said. “But I think it is art!”
PS I went to take a photo of my daughter’s “art,” but my oldest daughter has taken my photo memory card out of the camera. She did this a week ago to complete a school project. I am certain I will never see my memory card again.