Friday, September 29, 2006

Is There A Dictator In The House?

I'm not an overtly social person, which might seem an odd statement as I am publishing my deepest thoughts for anyone on the planet who cares to take note. But I don't spend time hanging out with friends during the day, don't call people up to chat (unless it's Mom or my sister) and when Andrew and I go out it's usually by ourselves.

So it's odd that through a random freak of genetics I produced a child who has no social fears or hang-ups. An extrovert, a social butterfly, whatever you want to call her, Lillian may be our youngest but she is the Alpha Child around here: she's out there and she has no fear.

As an example, today we two were on my weekly shopping route and the entire time--TWO HOURS--she skipped and sang and jumped, hopping merrily and smiling to anyone who would bother to notice (usually elderly people). Dancing and twirling, her arms waving like a windmill in a hurricane, she kept by the side of the cart while doing her Dance of Joy through Costco, Wal-Mart and then Fred Meyer.

When she sings she doesn't just give you some little timid ABC rendition, she belts her music out in a full exaggerated vibrato falling somewhere between Ethel Merman and Maria Callas. She sings with gusto but never on demand--you've got to catch her doing it in one of her spontaneous bursts of creativity otherwise she'll clam up with her "No habla Anglais" thing, ignoring all pleadings for a concert.

Spencer and David are great older brothers to her and put up with bossiness that no male should have to endure. Her favorite toys are Fashion Pollys, thumb-sized dolls that come with interchangeable rubber clothes which Disney has predictably duplicated into Princess Fashion Pollys: Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. Lillian carts them around everywhere, they're just big enough for a little girl's pocket, and she can be heard demanding that David or Spencer--most often David, he's more vulnerable--play Fashion Pollys with her.

"You be Snow White, I'll be Sleeping Beauty," she says, and usually he agrees, especially on the way to school when there's not much to do anyway. But sometimes when he balks at playing with dolls she gets Tough. Really Tough. Or if he doesn't want to be Ariel, can't HE be Sleeping Beauty for a change? (and now that I think about it, should I be disturbed?) she won't give an inch. "YOU be Ariel, I'M Sleeping Beauty!" And poor David shuts right up. Fashion Pollys? More like Fascist Pollys.

Are you're getting a bit of the Lillian picture? Well this spring a friend moved into town, a little girl named Emma who is remarkably similar in both appearance and personality. Suddenly there's now a Best Friend in Lillian's life and it's happiness times two.

Now my days are filled with, "When can Emma come over?" "Is Emma coming over?" "Can I see Emma?" or the question that really struck fear in my heart, "Can I call Emma?" But though I'm not ready to lose control of my phone quite yet I am glad to see them playing together because Emma's the only child who will stand up to my budding dictator.

A couple nights ago the phone rang--that time of night I never bother answering, it's always for Andrew--and I heard him say in a puzzled voice, "Lillian, it's for you--"

It was Emma wanting to chat. I watched Lillian cradle the phone against her shoulder, her hand on her hip very professional, pacing around the island in the kitchen. She'd known how to do this her whole life it seemed. The conversation probably made more sense on Emma's end but I was getting a lot of non sequiturs, red herrings and giggles rolled up in a five-minute stream-of-consciousness.

"Pancakes!" (giggling)

"Playdough monkey!" (more giggling) Then the pinnacle of the conversation:

"Crocodile pants!" At which point Lillian fell into such laughter that I finally suggested that she shouldn't use up all her material tonight and should perhaps continue the enormously entertaining dialogue tomorrow.

"Bye Emma!" She said happily and hung up without waiting to see if Emma would say good-bye too--you know any adults who do that? Yes, I'm going to have to keep an eye on this one. Wonder what she'll be like when she's sixteen--and driving! Gasp. What a thought.


misha said...

Oh. Sigh. I have one, too.

jen said...

i don't think i've heard of something more precious. crocodile pants? OMG. Love it. Easy for me to say since my kid won't speak on the phone yet, but still. She's gorgeous, btw.

Julie said...

Those photos are amazingly cute! How did you manage to capture them? My kids never perform like that on cue.

Penny said...

She sounds like my little girl and you sound like me. My daughter makes friends everywhere we go and I have had to overcome my introverted attitudes. I only just realized that all our (hers and my) friends are grown ups. And, it's a fairly small circle. So, I joined a group with her and begrugingly decided to integrate myself in the mommy-world. It wasn't hard. My daughter took right over and all the ice was broken.

Still.. it's interesting isn't it? To have such gregarious offspring introducing her full-fledged identity to the world, when you would just as soon not. Good post.

My daughter does the whole vibrato thing too. It's hilarious.

Just surfin' by. :)

Cori said...

Great post! Oh my you have your hands full don't you? I love the photos she is precious.

Drama Mama said...

Adorable! What a queen! :)

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Now THAT'S a face, or two or three. TOO adorable!!

Janean said...

Awesome! I love her faces. You did a great job illustrating the story with those.
Stopped by from CHBM's to see what's going on up in Alaska. :D
My sis lives in Wasilla, but I don't hear from her much. She has too many kids to chase to be on the puter!

Heather said...

Such a character...

Those things can never seem to stay in the mouth...