Move over Snooki, J-Woww and Sammi Sweetheart. You think you're all that with your big hair, fake nails and your jersey attitude. You talk tough, but guess what? My little bossy daughter will have you crying uncle and cowering in the corner like a naughty child waiting for her daddy to get home and reprimand her.
If your attitude determines your altitude, then my daughter is flying pretty high. She is sweet one minute, blowing sloppy kisses and embracing me in big-armed hugs, and the next minute she is grabbing a tuft of my hair in her chubby fist and yanking hard at the roots. As I yelp because of the sharp pain, the little she-devil laughs. She laughs.
Some mornings, Isabella wakes up and is practically humming supercalifragilisticexpialidocius. She is all smiles and laughs at all of your jokes, no matter how corny and undeserving they are. Then there are the other mornings. The dreadful mornings. The mornings that you wish you could just pull a comforter over your face and pretend like they are not happening. These are the mornings that my daughter is crying, fussy and acting like an A-list celebrity. She makes Mel Gibson's recordings sound like a soothing baby's lullaby. If I give her the wrong spoon with her oatmeal, she cries. If I wipe sticky cereal off her face in an attempt to practice good personal hygiene, she throws her spoon on the floor and screams. When I give her the sippy cup full of milk, she angrily flings it off her tray. In this type of situation I usually avoid eye contact and resume my duties of servitude as to avoid any further confrontation.
My husband, no longer the trim and fit hard body of his youthful days, has developed a cozy little abdominal pillow, more often referred to as a beer belly. When Isabella is in a good mood, daddy's beer belly serves as a cushy nap mat. When Dr. Evil takes over her body and swings her mood like a pendulum to the dark side, daddy's gut serves as a bongo drum for her to smack to the beat of her favorite tune. I laugh. Probably not the best form of deterrent, but she looks so darn cute when she is jamming on my husband's abdomen.
Isabella does not take pity on our poor puppies, either. She will tease and tempt them with bones and treats, and then run away before they have a chance to grab it from her. I try to coax Isabella to show mercy on the pups and reward them with the treat, but no, she enjoys the chase and the game. I usually cave and sneak a bone to the doggies to reward them for their patience with the tot-sized Cruella Deville.
As we go about our day, and I witness my husband get agitated quickly because he is hungry, or I find myself angrily tossing aside an item that was not properly put back in its place, I become conscious of the fact that my daughter is learning her attitude and anger at home. That is not to say our home is a hostile atmosphere, we laugh and laugh often. But it does mean that she can zero in on specific behaviors and mannerisms and replicate them like a trained zoo monkey. It's cute when our kids say funny phrases, or repeat an acceptable action like blowing kisses or waving bye-bye. But as soon as the child exhibits an undesirable behavior, we would like to think they learned it elsewhere, outside of the home. Sometimes that is true. But right now, mommy and daddy are the most influential figures in my daughter's life, so I have to point that blaming finger in my own direction and accept accountability for the less desirable learned behavior. Enlightened by my discovery, I inform my husband that we must be more conscientious with our tones and actions ... as I tap, tap, tap away on his belly.