I woke up to yelling this morning, but let me step back a few hours here and fill you in on some details. Tiny-Small usually wakes up every morning between 6am and 7am. If she sleeps until 7:15am I usually wake up in a panic and have to go make sure she is still breathing, which usually results in me waking her up anyway. If you are new here, Jim works really late. He’s on a sort of second shift type schedule. As a result, we are all night owls around here…except for Tiny-Small. She is both a night owl and a morning person. She does take a good nap though. Anyway, I usually get up with her every morning because I don’t need as much sleep as Jim does. Still, at least once or twice a week (if I am super lucky) Jim lets me sleep in. Today was one of those days.
So, I woke up to yelling this morning. I could hear the yelling through my earplugs. I pulled the earplugs out of my ears in a panic. Something must be wrong! Then I heard Jim’s voice sort of pleading and bargaining, and Tiny-Small crying. I got up and headed downstairs. When I came around the corner, there was Jim, on the floor, trying to squeeze a gold sequined headband over Tiny-Small’s head. She was yelling that he was doing it all wrong and crying and he was saying, “Let me try again. I know I can do it. Stay still for a minute.” He then pulled the headband straight down over her head and over her eyes. She looked like a miniature flapper. She started running in a circle and saying he didn’t know how to do it right while he looked on confused. “It looks good like that,” he offered. She told him she was on the verge of having a “freak-out” and I couldn’t really blame her. She was pretty much blind since it covered her eyes and it was obviously pulling out her hair.
I was standing there unnoticed for a moment so I had a chance to assess the situation. Tiny-Small was wearing a Halloween princess dress, at least six bracelets, her hair was in a messy, pony tail with a few crocheted hair clips stuck in the sides. It was clear Jim was trying to help her get dressed. Tiny-Small has a very clear vision of how she is supposed to look. She carefully chooses her clothing and accessories every morning. She cares so much about fashion that I often wonder if she was switched at birth. Nobody else in the family is a fashion gene carrier. We are all happy to throw on jeans and a sweatshirt and call it a day. I immediately felt so sorry for Jim. He is not good with hair, but he does his best and I could see he was trying to remain calm and patient while she complained, loudly, about his inability to coif her hair in the manner she was accustomed to. He just didn’t get what the fuss was all about and he’s not a hairstylist. He’s more of a run a comb through it and head out the door kind of guy. She was frustrated by his lack of skills and inability to care about it as much as she did. Poor Jim! Poor Tiny-Small! Here were two people, trying to communicate from such different perspectives. It was almost painful to watch. Still, I have no memories of my dad ever trying to comb my hair or get me dressed, never mind putting up with me wanting to be fancy and bejeweled. I am sure one day both Jim and Tiny-Small will cherish these memories even if right now these encounters seem a little stressful.
I had a flash-forward. It was like we already had a teenager. I felt a little sad knowing that the time would fly past and we’d be in the middle of a similar scenario in the near future, but one that would likely have bigger stakes and bigger consequences for all involved. It sort of sucked my breath away.
Still, I couldn’t help but laugh. That’s when my secret observation session ended. Tiny-Small ran to me and flung the headband into my hands. She and Jim both looked relieved as I put the headband on her head. Jim shrugged and said, “I tried. Sorry we woke you up.” I should be annoyed that my day to sleep in was ruined, but I’m not. I woke up to yelling, but also to laughter. I’m glad it was nothing more serious than a fashion emergency.
Someone on Facebook called my family ridiculous, but in the time it took me to reply to her comment she had erased it. She also inferred that I was raising a spoiled brat. I wish she hadn’t erased her comment. I didn’t find it offensive. Tiny-Small is spoiled in many ways. She’s an only child, she gets a lot of attention, we think she is hilarious and sweet and entertaining. We adore her. We probably do spoil her. I accept the criticism, but I wouldn’t say she is a brat. I’d say she has executive leadership skills. She knows what she wants, she knows what she likes, she knows how to get things done. We indulge her interests. We let her care about fashion and let her be in charge of the way she presents herself to the world. We feed her when she is hungry, which is often, because she has a high metabolism. When it makes sense, we let her voice count in our decision-making processes. We give in to her sometimes because we are tired. We do have limits and boundaries though. Just because I don’t write about them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We are teaching her right from wrong. We just choose our battles carefully. We are seriously imperfect parents, but we love our child. We are hoping that is what matters the most in the way we raise her. Are we ridiculous? Yes. We are completely ridiculous. I will totally, and happily, own that one too, but, really, what parent isn’t a little ridiculous when it comes to their child?