Exactly four years ago Carrie was starting to go into labor with Leah, our first child, and I was not as calm as I seemed at the time.
Four years later and I’m simply dumbfounded over how intelligent, creative, funny and serious Leah can be. It’s funny how you can look back at a child from the day their born and say “ah, yep, she was like that the second her head hit the air”. You have no idea then that those same sorts of behaviors and personality traits will stick around and strengthen.
A month or so after Leah was born she became very disciplined at screaming her head off from about 7:00am to 10:00pm, all day long for three months solid. It was the test of all tests. She timed the screaming to coincide with our first winter in Oregon which was quite the shocker having come from Southern California (and having lived in perfect weather our entire lives). We assumed every day for the rest of our lives would be dark and dreadful, filled with the sounds of screaming children. We went slightly insane to say the least.
At exactly three months (to the nanosecond) of screaming she stopped. She turned into a pudgy happy little baby who was content with the world. Everything was interesting, and everything was something she needed to be a part of. She figured out that her appendages were on her team, and she made quick work of convincing them with different ploys to do what she wanted.
She still excels at this sort of thing today, and she can be quite convincing. What were once merely grunts and wiggles have now turned into multi-dimensional plots with traps that pit parent against parent in a way that assures she wins. I’m considering hiring a lawyer to just sort of hang out and who can pull apart her machinations and combinations so I can at least have some advantage.
The tricky thing about being able to look back on your child’s life thus far and say you could have predicted something is that you really can’t. It all makes sense in the end, but if you were to ask me right now what kind of stuff I think Leah would be interested in in five years and I could only venture a guess.
Asked today, I’d say she’ll be Goth, as she’s already pretty obsessed with anything gruesome or disgusting. One of her first sentences was “It’s dead!”, referring to a dead dragon fly which she studied for a long time. She broke down in screaming laughing fits once after seeing some kid on TV tentatively poke a dog in the anus, the dog jumping from the intrusion. Ask what her favorite movies are and she’ll say “Nightmare Before Christmas, Spirited Away, and Howles Moving Castle”. Not your exact four year old fare. I suspect on some level she’ll always allude the norm and I can only hope and pray she continues to be weird and do and like what she likes. This is a girl who, when finding a snake in the backyard, carries it around and kisses it for hours, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything on this planet.