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Daddy’s Little Girl?

“For men at most differ as Heaven and earth,
But women, worst and best, as Heaven and Hell.
– Merlin & Vivien from Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King

Not even a year old yet, and already our little girl exhibits this very contrast. She’s such the cute angel, smiling and laughing, being the perfect little daughter every father would want. But then, she is somehow transformed, shedding her innocence as a snake’s skin, becoming mischievous and conniving in her quest to get her way, leaving a trail of confusion and distress in her wake.

She’s an imp. Someone has abducted my child and replaced her with this small, devil-kin terror. Before you question my sanity and my love for my child, allow me to explain.

More times than not, our little darling is the most hugable, lovable, warm-n-fuzzy feeling baby one could ever have. Of course, my opinion might be a tad jaded (only slightly, I’m sure), but suffice it to say that she is good-natured, happy and content. However, there are times when she is the complete opposite, refusing to eat, tossing her toys with reckless abandon and generally a handful for mommy and daddy to control. She sticks her tongue out and then grins; she pushes toys away that you hand to her only to cry until you hand it back; she complains to be held, then wiggles so much that you have to put her back down. It can seem to be a never-ending cycle! She wants mommy only to then want daddy, and back and forth. This isn’t only constrained to the parents… no! She even acts this way with the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and everyone else.

But what really got me enough to write this musing is what happened earlier this week at day-care.

Our girl had been sick for about a week, so she had been out of day-care, pampered and cared for by a collection of family members. We were worried that not only was her schedule knocked out of whack, but that she would be overly needy with the providers at day-care when she returned. Apparently, there was no problem. Mommy checked on her during her lunch hour, and when she arrived, she found all five of the other infants (all boys except for our baby) were crying. Our little girl was imitating them, almost teasing them in their time of misery. And she was grinning and laughing while she was doing it! Later, when Mommy came to pick her up for home, she was informed by one of the teachers that our daughter had been pulling the other babies close to her, and then pulling their hair! I could only shake my head, knowing that it couldn’t have been our child; it had to be the imp.

I’m hoping that this isn’t a precursor for things to come. Granted, I come from a family of practical jokers (my birthday is April 1st, remember?), but this is going overboard. She’s not really old enough to know better, and too young for us to punish, so we just grit our teeth and work our way through it.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for her to watch Dirty Harry movies with me when we brought her home?

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