Thursday, August 9, 2007

Happy birthday, NiNi!

My daughter NiNi officially turned four yesterday, so I’m a day late posting this. It’s fortuitous, though, that it falls on a Thursday. I can use a 13 for Thursday entry to talk about all (well, hardly all) of her wonderful qualities. Here goes…

1. She is incredibly charming, and knows how to use it well. I know a lot of charming kids, but few of these know how to work it to their advantage the way my youngest does. All she has to do is smile, and people do all kinds of things for her. It’s an impressive superpower, really.

2. She has a wonderfully unique laugh. It has developed from a near guffaw to something more giggly, but it still makes you smile even if you weren’t in the greatest mood before you heard it. It’s one of the reasons why she gets tickled so damn much. People just love to hear her laugh. She’s a “Tickle Me NiNi”!

3. She is teenie-weenie. The kid is 4 years old, and fights in the same division as Elena, the 12 month old baby of Caleb and Maeve, who live upstairs. She’s also really skinny. Like, I can nearly circle her leg with my middle finger and thumb. But all together, the package of this little girl is cute beyond words. I’ll look to see if I can find a picture to show you. If you haven’t yet, you need to see for yourself.

4. She can eat more pancakes than you. I’m serious! The kid doesn’t just break her fast, she smothers it! I’ve seen her eat half again the amount of food I do on Saturday morning. When she’s done, she’s got this belly that sticks out, and she looks for all the world like a refugee from some third world nation. Slap some dirt on her face and stick her next to Sally Struthers, and you’ve got an instant ad for CARE.

5. She cannot walk in a straight line to save her life, except in heels. I shit you not. It’s unreal. I’ve never seen anything like that before, and in a 4 year-old, no less. Who was she in a past life, that she can do this?

6. She eats beets. Have you ever known a kid her age to eat beets? In a ham sandwich? With wheat bread? C’mon!

7. She can sleep at the drop of a hat, and go for 12 hours easy. I think she gets this from my mother, who is a master at the art of sleeping. In a given day, she can sleep until 8:00am, get up and do her thing until lunch, take a nap at 2:00pm for two hours and still be perfectly ready for bed at 8:00pm. She fights rest time more now than she used to, but since she clearly has all the staying power of ice cream in Miami, I keep enforcing it. It’s good for her.

8. She leads a delightfully rich internal life. She is able to totally withdraw into an imaginary world when she wants, and is perfectly comfortable there for an hour or two. This is certainly convenient for the Papa, since he’s often able to get more done when she’s in that space than when she’s trying to insert herself into my to-do list.

9. She is a great snuggler/cuddler/lap kid. It may be her size, but you totally want to pick this kid up and bury your face in her neck. Unless it’s hot. Then she’s just sticky. Ewwww!

10. She is a true girlie-girl. Unlike her sister, who is much more physical in her preferences for entertainment, NiNi is perfectly content to go shopping. Especially if there are stores that sell shoes and handbags. The child is FOUR. YEARS. OLD. What the hell does she know from shoes and handbags??! I’m telling you, though, she knows her footwear, and she knows how to accessorize.

11. She can wash her own hair, beat an egg brutally into submission and put away her own clothes. I’m very proud of both my children’s independence, but particularly NiNi’s. Her size is such a limiting factor to so many things in her world: She can’t quite turn the water off in the bathroom because the faucet sticks; she can’t quite open the car door by herself; she is still in a 5-point harness carseat. Yet, she is still fiercely driven to do things herself whenever she can. Good on you, kiddo!

12. She has good instincts when it comes to trusting people. I’ve watched her latch on to people she’s never met, and be quite comfortable with them (Kizz is a good example). I’ve also watched her refuse to allow someone to take her, when she didn’t feel safe with them. Watching her in this behavior over time, I can see that she has well-developed radar for good people. Of course, that won’t keep me from teaching her how to protect herself from predators when we’re not around, but I don’t want her to ever lose touch with this ability. It will serve her well when the time comes to pick friends, go on dates and engage in business dealings. She won’t get screwed or heartbroken nearly as often, if she remembers to trust her instincts about human nature.

13. She is a true Leo, just like her papa. It leads to some conflict every now and again between us, but as she grows and I learn more about her, I think we’ll make an amazing team. With two powerful lions, Wayfarer House is, indeed, a force to be reckoned with! Rowwrr!

A pretty impressive kid, don’t you think? I'm glad she chose me to be her papa.


Kizz said...

Happy Birthday little sister! I love beets too.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wayfarer and family,
another friend of your Auntie Fran here. We are New Zealand friends and more..

This was supposed to be about happy birthday NiNi but it's really about how much your Papa loves you.

I've always understood that that there were two kinds of men..them that love women and them that don't. Most of guys fake it. But you, Mr. Wayfarer, don't.

You, this very happy Papa and best husband of the Wayfarer house, knows the difference, and are the best feminist ever. I just love this about your blog.

And a very happy Birthday to NiNi. From me, part of your extended Auntie Fran world.

I'm lucky enough to have dinner with Fran on Saturday. I think I won the lottery
Best to all, and Happy Birthday to the great NiNI


Wayfarer said...

Thank you for such wonderful compliments, Laurie! It's true--I really do love the female of our species (and not just in that way).

Enjoy your time with Fran! She's so cool! We just adore her over here.