Monday, August 27, 2007

Of Hooks and Mirrors

I called this blog the Natalist Diaries because I wanted it to be a sort of field journal of my domestic safari. Home, as my man GK puts it, is “the one wild place in the world of rules and set tasks.” Truer words were never spoken. This morning the Queen informed me of some very strange goings on indeed.

Apparently, my eldest daughter, Sophia has been having nightmares. She’s always struggled with being fearful at night, but this time her fear is so outrageous (even for her) that I had to comment on it.

Two nights ago, Sophia crawls into our bed apologizing to Amy for the dream she just had (this is a quality of her first-born, “I-have-to-be-perfect-and-never-do-anything-that-might displease-my-parents” constitution).

“Don’t get mad at me,” she whimpers, “but does Olivia have a hook for a hand?” (Olivia is our two-handed third child.)

“No, sweetie, Olivia doesn’t have a hook for hand.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m pretty sure.”

What elevates this incident from the mundane to the ridiculous is that Sophia kept asking Amy if Olivia had a hook for hand all the next day.

“Mama, are you sure she doesn’t have a hook for a hand?”

“Sophia, she’s standing right there. Look at her HANDS.”

“Okay, Mama, but are you sure?”

This is life with Sophia, our little actress. She’s an amazing kid—smart, funny, kind, beautiful, fashionable—but everything that happens to her is so the drama, all the time.

The funny thing about this hook-for-a-hand farce is that it really isn’t about Olivia, it’s about Sophia. What would she ever do with hook-handed little sister? This is just another of countless examples of her unselfconscious ego-centricism. She’s completely oblivious to her narcissism.

Sometimes she’ll come in at night, worried about kidnappers.

“Mama, are you sure no one’s going to come and steal me through the window?”

“Yes, Sophia. I’m sure.”

I always like to chime in at this point.
“Sophia, why would someone want to steal you? Think about it: why would a bad guy break into your window, which has a locked shutter and a chest of drawers pushed up against it, just to steal the heaviest, most verbal kid in the family? The baby’s in the room next to yours and he’s way more portable than you are and far more likely to forget about Mama and Papi as he grows up poor in a dirty trailer park with desperate, unfashionable, kid-stealing foster parents.”

“Mama, are you sure no bad guys are going to take me?”

What amazes me is that as crazy as my kids can be, they always hold a mirror to my own irrationality. It seems each of our kids embodies some of the good and bad traits of Mama and Papi. This makes for a pretty entertaining home life, but it also serves as looking glass for the Queen and me to see our own faults and strengths.

In Sophia, I see so many of my irrational fears and so much of my unwitting selfishness; but, thanks be to God, I also see such a desire for goodness and so much beauty, creativity, and trust.


  1. The Queen sent me a note regarding this post. She says:

    this would have been a good post to slip in some of her other voiced irrational fears...... after little-people-big-world, "mama are you shrinking?" - last night and all day yesterday, "am i getting fat? chunky? a little bit chubby? you can tell me. what if i wasn't your daughter, would you tell me?" etc etc....

    As you can see, our life is a reality show on the Drama Channel...

  2. It's easy to add to this list all the other irrational fears we grown ups have to contend with:

    "Are you sure my co-workers don't hate me? Are you really, really sure??"

    "Are you sure I'm not a lazy, good-for-nothing bum?"

    "Are you sure I'm doing everything I can for my family? Everything?

    "Are you sure I'm not screwing my kids up more and more every day?"

    Yeah.. the list grows longer as the days go on. -M

  3. Who is this Queen you refer to? It so doesn't sound like a title for me. It makes me sound aloof and removed in regard to our family, which you know is only true in my dreams. Like "oh, so you're a plumber. what on EARTH is that?!!" No, my man, I am not a Queen. Think of something else Mr. Cleverpants.

    ps I love you.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.