I have dramatic kids. It can't be helped. They are at least half the result of their mother's DNA. I love all of my girls, but from time to time the estrogen ocean at my house rouses a fierce gale equivalent to a brick wall. Both Harper and Penelope have their individual dramatic flair, but Penelope has had the benefit of watching and learning from Harper. She has become a master of the dark arts of dramatic performance. Two tales follow, one for each kid, and I hope that you all enjoy a laugh at this poor father's wonderful plight.
Harper and Her "Feelings"
More so than Penelope, three-year-old Harper is a lover. She is affectionate, caring, and a snuggler. Now she can throw a fit, don't get me wrong, but generally speaking, she is more emotionally expressive than her sister. Harper has adopted what I refer to as a "pitty phrase." She breaks it out whenever something doesn't go her way. It is "you hurt my feelings." Now, in her defense, this is a true statement. Anything contrary to Harper's wants and desires does, in fact, hurt her feelings. Her happiness really does depend on getting her way. Poor thing. But it's not the phrase that is so hilarious. It's the double-handed, weak-kneed, body-crumbling expressive dance that goes along with the phrase that makes it hard to keep a straight face. I'll have to post a video of this sometime. This kid is awesome!
Oh, no! You fixed Harper some water instead of letting her do it (even though you had no idea she wanted to do it herself)? Collapse; the world is coming to an end; "you hurt my feelings."
Egad! You didn't say the right thing while pretending to be the mother while she was playing Alvin and the Chipmunks? Downfall of western civilization; gruesome dismemberment; "you hurt my feelings."
Man I love this kid. If nothing else, the shear entertainment value of her faux misfortunes is enough to carry through all the things that actually aggravate me about her. Classic. Can't wait to put this back on her one day.
Penelope and Her Faceplants
Oh my goodness. Next to "dramatis personae" in the dictionary is a picture of Penelope doing the faceplant. Not a normal faceplant mind you - she knows that would actually hurt. I'm telling you, this kid is clever...frighteningly clever.
At dinner, Penelope will inevitably want something not on her plate. It's the same thing she has on her plate; it's just on your plate and not hers. Act One, Scene One - action! Penelope now lowers her head slightly, begins loud, shrill screams of agony, and covers face with the tops of her hands. Everyone stares intently. Penelope opens one eye to ensure she still has her audience. Reassured, she plunges her head into her plate, usually aiming for the ketchup to ensure adequate messiness. She then lifts her head slowly to reveal the damage, again verifies her audience's attention, shrieks in agony, and plunges her head back to the plate. Bravo infant, bravo. Here's your Academy Award - Outstanding Performance in a Dinner Roll/Role.
Tired of cleaning up this mess, me - the ever intelligent, decided to slide the plate away from her during a recent performance. As she began down into the plate, she realized it wasn't actually there. The crying stopped, of course, and she looked at me perplexed. She reached over, slid the plate back in front of her, and resumed the show. I moved the plate again. Realizing I was onto her game, she grinned ever so slightly before once again resuming the performance and planting her snot-covered face directly on the glass table top. Gotcha Dad.
Having kids is great. Having my kids is amazing. They never cease to amaze me, and they never seem content to just be average. They always want to take it to the next level - one up themselves and each other. For now, it's kind of adorable, albeit slightly messy. In 10 years I probably won't feel that way anymore. Shoot, in 10 years I'll squirt ketchup on both of 'em myself!