When I was pregnant with Leighton, imagining Ryan and I as new parents, my mind's eye perpetually flipped through the rosy, picturesque aspects of motherhood juxtaposed against the darker "what if" fears realistically beyond reason.
Both sides of that coin draw tears to a hormone-jacked woman about to give birth. But, until I actually had Leighton in my arms, I had no idea how special the small moments would be.
It's impossible to appreciate the day-to-day silliness children bring until it happens. The dinner-throwing, first-words, first-times, sibling-rivalry, middle-of-the-night-fussing, no-pants-partying, vomiting, teasing, slapping, laughing, questioning and just plain banality of parenting is amazing.
The small moments shore up the monumental ones and keep my relationship with my children in perspective. I make a concerted effort to NOT take my family for granted.
Stringing together the small moments offers some of our most cherished memories. Those moments are fleeting and I don't write about them as completely as I would like. Which brings me to today, and this very moment to be specific.
Leighton takes classes. She genuinely likes school - both the learning and social aspects - so we go with it. Today, she had "Crayons Cooking and Fun".
She loves this class, just as she's adored Gymnastics, Music, Ballet, Head to Toe, Swim, Yoga, Arithmetots and Phonics over the last year. She generally comes home and spills the beans on whatever happened in the 90 minute class.
However, starting this week, when asked "What did you learn at school today," Leighton would unflinchingly answer, "Nothing."
In my opinion, this apathy should not have reared its ugly head for several more years. What the heck? These classes are pricey and we want to know whether she's enjoying them, at the very least.
Is she seriously dismissing me?
Her new "nothing" response obviously bugs her daddy, because he started playing a little game with her. After three days, we refer to it as the "Nothing Game."
The Nothing Game goes like this: If we ask her how her day was or what happened at school and her answer is "nothing". We get to tease her a bit.
It's fun. Here's a typical example:
ME: "Hey Leighton. UPS delivered a package today and it was wrapped in pink sparkly paper and tied with a big, purple, satin bow. I tore it open and dug through the packing peanuts and, you know what was in it?"
LEIGHTON: "What mom?"
And Lei will laugh her ass off. Once she recovers, she will formulate a zinger of her own and keep it going. Then Ryan, then Leighton, then me, then Mairin (who just starts laughing and screeching and so on) and the game continues.
The lesson, of course, is that the answer "nothing" is annoying. The Nothing Game loosens her up, gets her talking. It's like verbal tickle torture. It's hilarious to us.
I can't take credit. Ryan started it. I just fully intend to keep it going as long a the imaginitive cackling continues and she eventually tells us what she did at school that day.
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By Lisa Owen