Sunday, July 27, 2014


Ada is becoming quite adept at looking at me with disdain.  I will admit that this is the only sensible reaction to some of the things I say to her, but I must admit that she has acquired the ability to provide me with withering glances at astonishing speed.  Like most everything with Ada, she is rather precocious.

I did not think that facial expressions were hereditary, but the look that Kat gives me that she calls "dead eyes" has clearly been passed down to Ada.  It took Kat a few years to master, but Ada is already a pro.  It is a look that says many things at once: "I have no respect for you"; "I did not choose you as a parent"; and "I would prefer to be doing basically anything else but listening to you."  This is a look that I know well.

Even despite these occasional looks, I could not be happier with Ada.  She is a great kid and a lot of fun to be around.  And she is blessed with a brand of amnesia that allows her to still want to spend time with me, despite my track record.  Yesterday, for example, Ada suggested a bike ride to the park. Upon our return, I was drenched in sweat. Ada was just sitting in the seat on the back of the bike and riding along.  However, this did not stop her from immediately telling Kat as soon as we returned that 'The bike ride made her really tired.'  I asked her which part made her tired: the sitting on the bike or the sitting on the swing while I pushed her for an hour.  She said it was the combination.

She also requested that I juggle for her yesterday.  And when I briefly stopped to try to explain something to her about how it had probably been about 20 years since my parents bought this juggling equipment for me, she gave me the dead eyes look and said tartly: "Juggle, clown."  I then started doing a terrible impersonation of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas and asking her if I amused her, which led to much more dead eyed staring.  So I went back to juggling.

Ada had her first sleepover with a friend last night, and apparently she did quite well.  She absolutely does not seem fazed or concerned by almost anything and continues to be frighteningly confident.  She does not seem to need her parents, which is an interesting thing for me to ponder. Basically all kids grow up and then do not need their parents, which can be difficult to come to grips with for parents.  It is why I often hear people say that they want to freeze their kids at a certain age or have them stop growing.

I do not feel this way, and I do not know at what age Ada should "freeze" because each year brings new and interesting challenges.  But I do have some concern about the fact that, at her current rate of development, Ada might decide it is time to strike out on her own at age 11 and begin panning for gold or running a travel agency or flying planes.  She might decide she has learned enough from us and is ready for her own adventures.  Everyone fears being outgrown.  And that fear is at its apex with children because all parents know it will happen.

However, it is easy to remind myself that Ada is three, not thirty-three (which is what I am, and I still see my parents with regularity -- see you soon, Mom!).  When we are at the park during our bike ride, this fact was made rather frighteningly clear.  Ada decided to reach for the bar that holds up the rings on the playground, but she missed.  And she was going to take a scary tumble.  But I caught her, and she instantly started crying because of how scary it was.  It scared me quite a bit, too.

I don't like staying so close to her on the playground because I want her to learn to be careful and to have her own fun.  But I don't want to be so far away that I can't help.  I know Ada doesn't need as much help as many other children, but I still like being there for her.  Despite the dead eyes and "Juggle, clown" and everything else that goes along with trying to raise a three-year-old, I truly enjoy it.  I may not have looked thrilled to be trying to bike uphill in the heat with a 40-pound kid on the back singing songs while utterly oblivious to my labored breathing, but if you were right up close you would have seen a smile. Bike rides with Ada are the best stress relief I have ever found.  I look forward to many more years with a perfect, confident kid who will soon be riding her own bike next to mine.  Even if it means I have to hear "Don't sing, Dad" come from the backseat every time I so much as hum along with the radio, I don't mind.  I look forward to it.

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