Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cut from the Same Cloth

My oldest daughter has taken an interest in categorizing how she is similar to Joel and me in terms of our attributes and behaviors. She noted that she and Joel are similar because they each have straight hair, take pleasure in golf and gardening, and play the Wii. She reports that we're alike because we both enjoy eating guacamole and rolling down the windows while driving on the highway (obviously not at the same time.)

I, too, make observations. There are obvious physical similarities: Reese and Brooke both have striking blue eyes like their Daddy. There are behavioral ones: Brooke puts black olives on her fingertips before eating them like I did as a child.

And then there are characteristics that reveal the fabric of a person. When Reese gets an idea in her head she wants to act on it right now. I relate. During the seventh month of pregnancy, I decided to paint our bedroom and refurbish our old furniture. Joel and a friend carried the headboard, dressers, and end table into the garage. Over the next several weekends, I donned a mask and safety goggles, grabbed a sander, and began the tedious task of stripping and repainting each piece. You can chalk the renovation project up to nesting, of course, but something within me latched onto the idea and I wouldn't rest until it was finished.

So when Reese wakes up determined to build a fort out of couch cushions, blankets, and clothespins, or when she's adamant about creating an art project that requires tissue paper, gobs of glue, and a ridiculous amount of pipe cleaners, as much as I may want to slow her down and wait for a more opportune time -- after I've taken my first sip of orange juice or when the kitchen table is cleared from breakfast, at the very least -- I understand her drive and intensity. It occasionally causes my teeth to hurt, but I get it.

Perhaps the best illustration is when she rode an amusement park ride that she termed the "fast cars." As the ride accelerated and each car whipped by, all of the riders slid to the outside of their seats -- with one exception. There was Reese, clinging to the handrail, pulling with all of her five-year-old might, and holding her ground on the inside. She refused to slide.

I used to do this. She and I are both so headstrong that we purposely fight centrifugal force.

That's my girl.

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