Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blue Baby

I have 3 children--- 2 boys aged 12 and 6, and a 2-year old girl. Before Isobel was born, I was filled with excitement and relief that there would finally be a child who would be easier to take care of, who would be affectionate and well-behaved. A child who would be clean, love to bathe and smell good all the time. A child whom I wouldn't have to lose my voice over from saying "no" every 5 minutes. I didn't know then, maybe it was the hormones kicking in during pregnancy that banished all logic, but because of my idea of how it was to raise a little girl, I was in for a big surprise.

Isobel's just as rowdy as the 2 boys. I think she knows somehow that she's special, being the only girl, hence the conviction that she should always get her way. I dare not raise my voice to tell her to stop bullying her brothers, because her voice is several octaves higher than mine and and she can outscream me by 30 decibels. I found that it was simply easier on all of us if, when she was insisting on something, to just tell her why it was not a good idea, and pray to God that she tires of screaming.

One evening, she was watching a cartoon on TV and she seemed very content. I took this opportunity to attend to some chores in the kitchen while my husband was on his laptop, near enough to keep watch over Isobel. I finished up in the kitchen and was pleasantly surprised--- though admittedly a tad nervous because it was such a rare occurrence--- that Isobel was very quiet.

When I saw her, she was lying down on the sofa as I'd left her, but she had a blue permanent marker in her hand. Her weapon of choice. She had filled in almost her entire body with blue ink from the wrists to the palms of her hands, round and round her bellybutton just in case anyone thought to look for it and didn't know where to search, from her thighs down to the soles of her feet. And they weren't just squiggles. I meant she filled in almost all of her exposed skin, like a coloring book accomplished purposefully by a 12-year old. My husband scrubbed her diligently until most of the ink came off, but she stayed an eerie shade of blue until several days after.

I, however, after 3 children, have learned to be calm in situations like these when what's done is done and there's absolutely nothing good that will come out of getting upset. I'm also a believer that there are lessons that can be learned from these experiences, even if you have to turn over every g**damfriggin' stone to find them. And true enough, there was. I discovered that my child is ambidextrous, because she had colored the left side of her body almost as completely as the right. And I envy her patience at being so thorough at the job, that she seemed so intent on leaving absolutely no white skin left un-blue. She has also proven that she's mature beyond her years, having an attention span longer than that of a fly's, by being so focused at the task she had sought to do. Or maybe she's just a really fast worker. Either way, I think those are invaluable traits.

I appreciate her more with every passing day, because of all the lessons life with her has taught me. And one I will never forget is to buy only washable markers.

No comments: