The story of my first born...
My daughter is not Nanny, or Nan, or Nancy, or Nanette, but one of her first ever sentences, when she was younger than two, was when she woke up from a nap. I heard her and went in to find her head under the blanket, she peeked up giggling, and said, “Where Nanny go?” As the joking first refusal or correction since then, I've said, “No, No, Nanny.” Though when I call her something, No No is the choice.
But if I will have a writer in the family besides me, it will be No No. No No sees the world in larger than life terms. Everything is WONDERFUL or HORRIBLE. There is no middle ground. But she has an artistic gift... visual, musical, and verbal. She also LOVES to write, if it isn't … you know... organized. I thought maybe I'd tell some childhood stories on her to illustrate this, because they so perfectly display her gifts.
I sang the A,B,C's to her when she was about two. She segued directly into Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. She was two. I was 30. SHE KNEW it was the same tune, and until she started singing, I had not noticed. She constantly baffled me at this age. My life was falling apart in some ways. Her dad was a MESS for a solid 18 months during this time, so I was pretty much a single mom, and this little miracle would come out with these bursts of GENIUS.
I managed to keep some rules for myself though... I NEVER yelled.... erm... except when the dog (a dalmatian lab mix puppy with anxiety issues) drug garbage all over the house or chewed up a couch (which he did 3 times). One night when I was trying to get No No ready for bed, I told her it was time to get her jammies on. You know what she said to me (she was TWO—barely two). She said, “You're a dumb dog!” You see... when someone was mad and yelled in her universe, that was what they said... they yelled something about the dumb dog... Her little brain had calculated that when somebody really pissed them off, you called them a dumb dog. *snort*
Always a Critic
I didn't get out much at this part of my life. I worked at a Microbrewery. I was tinkling away very slowly at my Master's Thesis. But socially, I didn't have a lot of outlets. The day job was a contra-indicator for make-up (greasy environment and frequent sweat) and why else WOULD I, but at one point I was invited to a party. A friend was watching her (or maybe her dad, even though he didn't live there) and I was getting ready. She came into the bathroom while I applied eye shadow and mascara and frowned at me. I picked her up and she pointed. “What's that?” I laughed and said, “It's make-up. Don't you like it?” She scrunched her face and shook her head. “It's too spicy.” She said, definitively, sure she'd expressed herself perfectly... the thing is, SHE HAD. It just wasn't words I would have put to it--being constrained... you know, by how people USUALLY say things.
Then, at about 2 ½, I was singing to her... she covered my mouth... she shook her head... I may still have been her favorite person, but she had solidly decided I wasn't going away if she expressed that I couldn't carry a tune (which is sadly true)... She didn't let me sing again until she was about five when she realized I knew a lot of songs with really silly lyrics...
The criticisms now usually pertain to my clothing choices. I'm not very hip (or so I hear).
No No has some challenges ahead. It's time for her to fully come to the table in terms of academic responsibility. She is smart, but not great at book learning or memorizing, and has REAL math and organizational challenges. She is approaching the years when we add driving, substance experimentation, and... dare I say it... sex... to the mix. She has been open about the topics to date. I hope my approach (risk reduction---decisions based on trust and communication with whoever your with, whatever you're doing) will keep her communicating.
She has such a strong personality though—a charismatic leader with her friends. And she is really committed as an athlete (which offers at least SUBSTANCE use protection—teams kick people off for pretty much anything. So I have to believe her future is very bright. It just may take a few years before it is unturbulent...