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My Daughter, the Cat

My mother used to tell me that when I grew up she hoped that I would have a daughter just like me. One would think that was sweet sentiment between a mother and daughter, right? Nope. It was said with such disdain and almost a joy from within at the thought that one day I would be tortured by my own child the same way I was torturing my dear mother.

As a child I didn’t quite get what she meant and always laughed in reply, but somewhere in there I knew this was a form of curse, rather than a compliment to my amazing daughter-ing skills. I never quite realized just how much it was a curse until my now three year old daughter started to show her own “precious” little character traits.

My daughter says exactly what she thinks and means every word of it. I mean, ALWAYS. To her credit, she’s three and is already reading, she spoke in sentences at a very early age and is like a walking knowledge base, these days. She asks questions about everything and really seems to want to know the real answer. My day is spent equally explaining things to her and then listening as she explains things to me. She’s too smart for her own good and quite possibly, mine. I’m positive that she didn’t get that part from me, but I digress. She loves music and to sing and will put on concerts for us every day. She can tell you who B.B King, Buddy Guy, Sade and so many other artists are as soon as the music starts to play and knows the words to every song. She has no concept of fear for the most part, so bounding off of the furniture and onto the hardwood floor is like jumping from cloud to cloud in her eyes and looks at me like I’ve gone crazy by telling her not to do it. She sees everything as an experiment in testing her abilities. On top of that, she argues like a teenager, but also helps me put away the dishes… very much UNLIKE a teenager. She’s never met a single stranger and will ask random people we pass, how they’re doing. They usually stare at this little toddler dumbfounded and not knowing if she’s just a midget or an emotionally aware child.

One thing that I love the most about her is she laughs, constantly. There isn’t anything that she doesn’t find humor in and THAT part is exactly like me. We have moments where we sit and laugh together for 30 minutes solid at something silly the other did. The kind of laugh that no sound comes out, just a red face and tears rolling down your cheeks. To the outside world it probably isn’t at all funny what we’re laughing about, but to each other we get the humor in it and it’s infectious.

As a kid in elementary school I use to get in trouble every day for laughing so hysterically that I could not stop, no matter the threats being made towards me if I didn’t. Something would happen that got me giggling and from there, it was all down hill. Sadly this still happens to this day and usually at the most inopportune times, like at a funeral or in church. The teachers would make me move my desk outside of the classroom and sit out there until I could collect myself. Now this doesn’t seem like an unreasonable reaction to my behavior except for the fact that I went to an elementary school that was like an outdoor strip mall, with all access to the classrooms from an outside breezeway. I guess it was much less hassle if a stranger walked up and snatched me than for me to be inside disturbing the rest of the class along with the teacher. I’ve already warned my husband that we will get many calls from the school for our child doing the same thing. Maybe homeschool is best…

Another thing I absolutely love about this child of mine is her deep affection for her Dad and her big sister. Both of whom she wholeheartedly believes belong to her. She waits like a puppy dog at the door for her father to get home, every single day and screams “Daddy’s here! Daddy’s here!” She runs to the door so excited to let him in that she winds up re-locking the door that he just unlocked from the other side. He halfway steps through the door and she throws her arms around his legs and says, “Daddy you’re here!!! I’m so glad you’re okay!” I’m not sure what she thinks he does for a living, but whatever it is she must think he’s at some sort of risk when he leaves the house. Also much like a puppy who’s master just walked in the door, she goes crazy ripping through the house and causing destruction at every turn the second he gets home. I usually blame this reaction on her father and move on.

The other day she had been in and out of the window frame each time she heard a truck roll by or a car door shut, thinking her Dad was finally home. She went through the “Daddy’s here!” spill each time only to figure out it was the neighbor across the street. By the time my husband finally did come home and walked through the door, she said “Daddy!!!” then walked straight up to him, reared her leg back and kicked him firmly in the shin. My only reasoning for this random act of violence toward her Dad is that she had gotten her hopes up intermittently all day long. With each passing truck, thinking that her daddy was home and by the time it really was him, she was pissed and over him. Quite honestly, she also got my hopes up throughout the day as well, so I probably would’ve kicked him in the shin too had she not beaten me to the punch!

She’s taken on this new alter-ego where she is a cat, affectionately named Scruffles. She will spend hours crawling on all fours through the house meowing and licking the back of her hand, pawing at things and feverishly scratching under her chin. Conversations become a series of meows and you have to refer to her by her pseudo name if you want an answer. This has its advantages as Scruffles is highly less destructive and will usually curl up into a ball and lay on or under the furniture, peacefully. I can also get her to eat fish so long as I tell her that cats love fish. So there’s that.

Each day, I see more and more of myself in my daughter who thinks she’s a cat. I see her audaciousness, her love for life, inquisitive mind and her uninhibited sense of humor. Her smarts as well as her gassiness come from her Dad, so I will give credit where it is due. Today my Mother can safely say, that I have a daughter that is just like me. God help us all…

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