Legal Quandary

Saturday, March 05, 2005

You can't chose your Tortfeasor

Or your parents.

Two people requested kid stories. I don't know if they're funny or even mildly amusing, but these 3 spring to mind. I realized that I haven't written a whole lot about EC, but she's a pretty funny kid. And stubborn. And sneaky. Both of us also hate to lose - which means we were destined to have monumental battles of will.

Sneaky. I have a great picture at home of EC when she was 2. She is half crouched behind a rocking chair. My purse is beside her, and she has a package of gum in her hand - except the pack is empty. She had unwrapped and chewed EVERY SINGLE PIECE in a large pack. I'm quite certain she knew she wasn't supposed to get into my purse - why else was she hiding? Lil Q also loves to steal my gum, but she just goes to my backpack and takes it in full view like its no big deal. I chew huge quantities of gum (Trident Spearmint), so I always have it - and those darn kids know it!

Stubborn. When EC was a toddler, we used to have HUGE battles over what to wear each morning. I was newly divorced at the time, and working for the base commander. Which means I was expected to show up on time and looking presentable.

We went through the whole organized parent (hah!) drill of picking outfits the night before and discussing how excited she was to wear the green pants the next morning. The trouble was, when it came time to get dressed in the morning, she never wanted to wear the clothes we picked out. Ever. She would break down in tears and complain about how the pants "tickled" her. That was her way of saying they were itchy. So, I would invariably have to go through the rest of her clothing to find an acceptable pair of pants. Which would always clash with the shirt she was wearing. To this day, the girl has NO sense of either color or pattern. I can sympathize with the "itchy" part, since I am also freakishly sensitive to various fabrics and seam placement, but we HAD gone to the trouble of picking out the clothes together.

By the time we got out the door in the morning, one of us would usually be in tears. One morning when I really couldn't be late, I finally snapped. I told her that if she didn't wear the pants we'd picked out, we'd just have to go without them. I wrapped her up in a blanket (it was winter), strapped her into her carseat and away we went! By the time we made it to the babysitter's house, she was begging to wear those pants! From that point on, all I had to do was ask her if we were having a "no pants morning," and she would get dressed.

Funny. EC was also quite precocious. She talked very early - by 18 months, she had a pretty firm grasp on the English language and hasn't stopped talking since. I don't think she could help it - my former mother-in-law is a championship talker. Seriously. So is my current mother-in-law. Ironically, they are from the same hometown. I wonder sometimes what would happen if they were put in the same room together….but this post is not about them.

One of the drawbacks to having a stubborn and precocious child is that they start talking back early. One day early in my relationship with Mr. Q, we were all in the car, and I asked EC to please stop kicking my seat. She replied, "Yes, your highness." Mr. Q was sure the child wouldn't live to her 5th birthday. I had a hard time not laughing. It's exactly the kind of thing I would have thought, but never said.

Klutzy. EC's other stand-out characteristic is her remarkable ability to injure herself. By the age of 10, she's had eye surgery (this one isn't her fault), broken her wrist, sliced her thigh open with a knife that was lying on the floor at my ex's house (an issue in itself), and fallen down a large number of stairs in more than one country. We're always amazed at the things people will give us when a child falls down the stairs. Bottles of water, snacks, candy, ice packs, and more.

I love the "are we having a no-pants morning" line! Also, the fact that EC called you your highness. Hilarious! Of course, this is very easy for me to say as a non-parent who hopes to remain that way. My god - if I ever had kids, I would be the tortfeasor, I'm sure.
EC sounds like my neice! One morning my sister was so frustrated with her she told her to stop misbehaving or she'd get popped. My little neice turned and, deadpan, looked my sister straight in the eyes and said, "I'll call my lawyer." Neice was about four.
Ah. Thanks for indulging me. I really love kid stories and your's are wonderful. I agree with e. I love the "are we having a no-pants morning" line. My former mother in law always said that the trick with kids is to get your bluff in early. I think it actually works! And, I'm glad to hear that my middle daughter and I are not the only accident prone people on the planet! (we had her in the hospital with 3! broken arms in her first 6 years -- two from falling down stairs (and we were good parents - we had baby gates and everything, I swear!!)).
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