A week ago, I woke my daughter up at her usual 6:00 am time, and asked her to start getting ready. She was in an unusually good mood.
After getting dressed, she noticed that she had forgotten to turn the page over in the calendar in her bedroom to November during the Halloween weekend. My daughter is slightly obsessed with calendars and dates, and immediately ran over to change it.
She let out a gasp as loud as a freight train.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I missed Hello Kitty’s birthday!!! I missed it!” she cried.
“Okay,” I said, trying to understand why this was a big deal to her.
She read the look on my face. “Don’t you understand?!! You DON’T understand because YOU don’t care about Hello Kitty!”
“It’s not that I don’t care about Hello Kitty,” I lied. “I just don’t understand why you’re so upset.”
You see, my six year old daughter doesn’t even really like Hello Kitty. She likes her Hello Kitty calendar, but she hasn’t seemed interested in Hello Kitty in quite some time. She has only one Hello Kitty toy in her closet, and doesn’t want to wear any of her clothes anymore which feature Hello Kitty.
But she continued to weep loudly over the passing of Hello Kitty’s birthday.
I was perplexed.
I attempted to reason with a six-year old. “Why is this so important to you?” I asked.
“Because I love Hello Kitty!!!! And I really, REALLY wanted to celebrate her birthday!!” Her cries were starting to sound more angry than sad.
“Well, you know you can celebrate someone’s birthday on a day besides the actual day,” I offered.
“NO!! No, you can’t! There’s nothing- nothing I can do!! It’s too late!” she spouted.
I continued to try to understand.
“How were you going to celebrate it exactly?” I asked.
“I WAS GOING TO BUY MYSELF A HELLO KITTY TOY!”
I walked out of the room, trying not to laugh.
She continued to wail and shriek over Hello Kitty’s birthday. I went from feeling amused to losing my patience. This was ridiculous. It wasn’t even 6:30 in the morning and my child was screaming about a fictional character’s birthday.
“You were the one who wrote her birthday on my calendar! And YOU didn’t tell me! You knew it all along!” she cried.
“I did not,” I said, walking over to the calendar. But then I looked. It was, indeed, my handwriting. What the heck was I thinking when I wrote that?
It wasn’t until much later that I remembered that my daughter had asked me to write all the birthdays down in her calendar of all our family members and friends way back in January when she first got the calendar. I guess I must have thought I was being cute by writing Hello Kitty’s birthday in, too. (Being cute always seems to backfire for me.)
Somehow, my daughter made her way out to the car. Somehow she calmed down before she got to the bus stop. But I was left thinking about how sometimes my child’s emotions seem to come out of nowhere, without warning. She was in a good mood, and then thirty seconds later, she wasn’t.
As I’m writing this, I’m starting to think maybe it wasn’t really about Hello Kitty. Maybe she was mad about something else she couldn’t articulate, but that it just came out being about Hello Kitty.
The other day, my mom got angry with my dad for losing my sink strainer. I couldn’t understand why she was angry. I mean, I wasn’t the least bit angry, and it was MY sink strainer. I just thought it was funny… (I mean how DOES someone lose a sink strainer?) But then I realized that she’s actually afraid–not angry. She is afraid that my dad is getting older and forgetting things. She is afraid she either may lose him or that he will no longer become the person she knows.
But we can’t always articulate those things now, can we?
I know I’m still working at it. I’m 38. And there’s still a bunch of crap I don’t know how to communicate.
But I do know that this recipe I got from my friend, Jackie, in Wisconsin for corn chowder is AWESOME. I’m really on a soup kick, as you can tell.
3 T. butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1/4 c. all purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock (actual recipe called for
2 cups half and half (actual recipe called for heavy
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bag frozen sweet white corn or white and gold corn
1 can creamed corn (added this ingred. from another
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
garnish: 6-9 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon
Heat butter and 1 T. of olive oil in a pot over medium
heat. Add onion, garlic and thyme and cook until
vegetables are soft. Dust the vegetables with flour
and stir to coat. Pour in broth and bring to a
boil. Add half and half and the potatoes. Boil hard
until potatoes break down (gives thickness and texture
to soup.) Add frozen corn. Season with salt and
pepper and simmer until corn is soft, about 10
minutes. Add creamed corn and parsley. Taste and
*The only thing I really do differently is
that I don’t add the half and half at the same time
as the potatoes, because I am always afraid it’s going to curdle.
So, I added the potatoes, waited about 5-10 minutes,
and then added the half and half.