Just Listen … and Other Things My Child Will Never Do

I had just plopped myself back into my beach chair when my four-year-old giggled the way only a child can when they’re about to do something they’re not supposed to. I watched, brow furrowed, as she edged her way closer to the waves crashing on to the beach, glancing over her shoulder to make sure I was watching with disapproval.
 
I was. 
 
She cackled and took off with me chasing behind her for the nineteenth time that hour. After removing her from danger yet again, I finally convinced her to play in the sand next to my chair with the four hundred beach toys she’d insisted we drag out there (that she had yet to even touch). I resumed people-watching with one eye and ensuring she didn’t make a break for it with the other.
 
Soon, a precious family of four strolled onto the beach, loaded down with their gear for a day in the sun. The smallest one, a boy of about three and a half, ventured from his mother’s side toward the water’s edge. The mom called, “Sweetie, you’re too far away from Mommy! Come back!” And that little boy, true story, turned around and walked right back to his mother. No fussing, no fighting, no running in the opposite direction, squealing with sadistic glee. He just listened. 
 
I gawked. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
 
Frantically elbowing my half-asleep husband, I scream-whispered through clenched teeth, “Honey! HONEY!!! LOOK!” He flailed awake and started scanning the horizon, looking for a shark fin or other threatening marine animal — nope, it’s just me. “DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!?”
 
“What?! What is it?! What did you see?!” 
 
At this point, my Rascal has taken advantage of my inattentiveness and bee-lined it for the water again. I retrieved her and ducked back under the umbrella, hair wild and eyes wide, to snarl, “That mom told her kid to come back … AND HE DID.” 
 
My husband looked at me the way only a husband can when he knows his wife’s eye is about to start twitching, and he has to act fast. He cracked open the cooler and wordlessly handed me an adult beverage. Without even bothering to sit again, or lower my voice, I sighed and asked, “When is that going to happen for us? When is Addie just going to listen?”
 
He shook his head and replied, “I don’t know, boo. I don’t know.”
 
Well, if he doesn’t know, I certainly don’t.
 
Our daughter has never been the type to go with the flow. She is a challenge … always pushing the boundaries, testing the limits, and fraying my nerves. I know this will serve her well in the future when she is the dictator of a small country, but for now, it just drives me banana sandwiches. The beach is no exception. So much for a relaxing vacation with that one! Putting sunscreen on my child is like putting clothes on a squirrel. It takes the dexterity of an Olympic gymnast and the patience of Mother Teresa. And asking her to NOT leap headfirst into the ocean, sans floaties, well … that will take an act of Congress, thank you very much. With her, nothing is easy. 
 
Out there on the beach that day, I wondered if my daughter would ever come to me the first time I call, or not run away when I say it’s time to go. Will it always be a fight? Will it ever get easier to deal with her? 
 
It might. Perhaps she will mellow with age. Perhaps she’ll make up for lost time and become this demure, soft-spoken six-year-old with a healthy respect for authority.
 
Or … perhaps not. But at least I am confident my Rascal will never get pushed around. If she keeps this up, I’m pretty sure she won’t waste time conforming to the status quo or giving in to peer pressure. She will stand up for what she believes in, she will fight for what she wants, and she will never let anyone tell her she can’t do something. She will drive her teachers batty, but they’ll admire her perseverance and dedication … at least, I hope they will.
 
Nothing is easy about being her mama right now. But someday, I know it will all be worth it. 
Stephanie was born, adopted, and raised in Lafayette. A proud LSU tiger grad, Stephanie serves as the Communications Manager for Vitalant (donate blood, y'all!) when she isn't single-handedly raising the 7-year-old future leader of the free world. During blissful moments of time to herself, she enjoys performing entire Broadway musicals alone in her car, drinking unreasonable amounts of coffee, and reminiscing on her days as a marathon runner. Steph is a terrible cook and hates to clean; however, she loves to entertain and is always ready to throw a party...as long as you promise not to look at her baseboards. She is constantly on the search for the balance between living a healthy lifestyle, eating her feelings, and being confident in her own skin.