One of my daughters wakes up crying and goes to sleep crying.
My other daughter wakes up happy and goes to sleep happy.
According to a report by John Stossel on 20/20it’s a simple matter of brain chemistry. Some people are born a Sponge Bob, others are born a Squidward.
So I try not to take credit for either condition. With my Squidward (and I’m not naming names people!) it’s usually best if I don’t try to guilt trip her out of it. I.E. “You think you have it hard? We weren’t allowed to cry in the ’70s or they’d giveus something to cry about! And we had to vacuum. I did a whole staircase when I was six!!”
It’s also better if I don’t give her too much sympathy. “Yes honey, it can be hard to have such a perky sister.” LOUD DEAFENING WAILING.
Child services arrive. I open the door. “All I did was sympathize with her, I swear!”
So last night when the crying began I impatiently asked, “What now?” My daughter tried to quell her emotions. That would be like quelling the Red Sea as it crashed down around the Philistines.
I checked the clock. 10 p.m. Looked like I’d never get to that episode of True Blood. More patiently I asked her again what was wrong.
“I don’t want to start 4th grade.”
The crying escalated. Our charter school is known for its rigorous academics so I began to reassure her that I would help her with her homework. That she was smart (which she is) and that she didn’t have to figure it all out in one day or all by herself. That she could always ask for help.
“No, I’m not worried about that. I just don’t want to grow up. I want to live here with you and daddy and Bridget forever.”
Oh. Oh no. I felt the tears coming. Only this time they were mine. Raising babies is so bittersweet.
Earlier I took some photos in my daughter’s room because when I paused for one second in my harried night time routine these images just struck me.
They perfectly capture who my daughter is at this exact moment in time and it is their ephemeral nature that captured my attention and both enlivened and broke my heart.