Saturday, February 13, 2010


My favorite milestones for my kiddos have to do with humor. The other day I realized that Sam was trying to make me laugh. I forget what exactly he was doing - but it was some kind of joke, that he would do, check to see that I was paying attention, then do again and look back at me, laughing expectantly. Yes, I laughed back - how could I not? Just him trying to make me laugh was adorable enough.

Natty also loves making up jokes. Unfortunately, she seems to have inherited my random, obscure and, well, not funny sense of humor (I call it the Heller humor - my mom has it too). It nearly broke my heart when she came home from school one day and said, "Mommy, Zoe hurt my feelings today. She said my jokes don't make any sense." I was hard-pressed not to laugh, because, honestly, Z is right; they don't make any sense at all. But the Thing To Do was to respond to her sad little eyes, downcast face and quivering chin. Poor little lovebug. (Her favorite joke (that she made up her very own self): What if we had a friend named Great and she did something really well? Then we could say, "Very good, Great!" big grin.)

As a Mom, I worry. Currently I'm worrying that she's too young for her classmates and won't have any friends. Yesterday she went to her first classmates birthday party (at a movie theatre! And she got to bring home a purple balloon!). I, of course, was a little uptight about it: Is she dressed appropriately? Will the birthday girl like her present? Will she have fun? All of which concerns are covered in the over-riding question: Will those little girls be nice to my precious little Valentine?

I worry that she inherited my wallflower gene - content to observe, but not good at interacting. One of the things that attracted me to Murray is his social facility. He is almost always the life of the party and makes friends, or a least chats well with people, everywhere he goes. When we travel, he makes a special effort to learn the language and try it out with everyone. Whereas I figure I sound like a fool murdering yet another language, they probably speak English anyway and couldn't we just figure out what we need to know from the guide book? I'm technically correct, but he's in the right. I hope Natty learns his skills. And therefore it's incumbent on me to model them as well. It remains a great truth in my life that having children makes me work harder at being the person I want to be.

While I am not usually that into Valentines day, I am this year. Natty is totally excited about it (a whole holiday dedicated to her favorite color! What's not to love?). We handmade her classmates' valentines cards and everything. A perfect snow day project. That's another thing about having children: they make celebrating anything a great, big adventure.

Happy Valentines Day - enjoy celebrating with any and all of your Valentines!

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