Monday, September 13, 2010

All The Different Characters Of The Rainbow

I don't want to compare my kids, but I do want to notice them.  So the following is not about judgement on who's easy or who's difficult or who's creative or who's quiet or....you get the point...and more of an embracing of the wonderful spectrum of different colors my daughters shine on the world.

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We were at a restaurant for dinner.  With just the four of us, trips out to eat can be fairly straight forward -- one on one supervision, you know? -- and this trip was especially easy.  We colored the activity sheet menus, talked about our neighboring tables full of interesting people, and waited rather patiently.  Our food came just as the girls' patience was waning, and our meal began peacefully. 

Mia and Lauren were both hungry, both ready, both capable of feeding themselves, but that's about all I can say for their similarities.


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MIA: She sits straight and careful, watching us all eat.  She delicately picks up a piece of chicken, examining all four sides of the 1cm-square bite, and brings it to her mouth.  She chews.  Slowly.  Until laughter at another table catches her attention and she stops chewing altogether.  She stares and thinks, quietly, until the laughter dies down; she begins chewing again.  A full minute has passed since she first tasted the chicken. Another full minute passes before her mouth is empty again. She gazes at her plate like it can tell her the secret password for solving a multitude of the world's problems.  She pinches her thumb and forefinger together to pick out one specific strand of spaghetti, raising it in front of her and inspecting it for any signs of wayward sauce (which has been brought separately due to her aversion).  With her free hand, she finds her fork and, so intently, begins to wrap the single length of pasta around the fork's metal fingers.  This takes some time.  Much time.  The pasta slips and loops and falls away before she can lodge it onto the fork, wrapped securely like a tiny nest.  With both hands now, she draws the fork to her lips, finally taking the bite she's been preparing for minutes upon minutes.  Her meal continues at this pace, never quickening, never fully attending the bites she should be chewing, until she's satisfied.

Lauren: She leans as far over her plate as her wooden high-chair will allow.  Her fork is gripped in one hand and she is furiously scooping at her pasta.  Dragging her utensil through the food, she opens her mouth as wide as it will go to accept the overflowing bite.  She is fast.  Pieces of spaghetti cling to the edge of her plate, hoping to be pushed onto the table where they may hide from her terroristic methods.  But they have no hope: she finds them, grabs them with her whole fist, and buries them in her mouth as her fork continues its warpath.  Chicken is speared and rejected; she only wants pasta.  Broccoli is chewed and tolerated; she wants to get back to the pasta.  Soon, her hunger begins to wane, and she can pay more attention to the details.  She picks up a long piece of pasta, holds it high over her head, leans back, and dips the end of it into her mouth; she is a fish and the spaghetti is a lure.  Then, she has an idea, from God knows where.  "Uh-oh! My phone's ringin'!"  She lays the pasta beside her ear, directs it over her cheek and towards her lips, where she begins speaking into it.  "Hi!" she nearly yells.  "How you doin'?  I'm doin' good!  Bye!"  She revels in the attention of our laughter, repeating her pasta-phone call several more times.  We are glad we've not ordered sauce.

Mia: She laughs at her sister and shakes her head with us adults.  Her plate is a nearly pristine replica of what was brought to her at the start of the meal.  Piles of chicken, broccoli, and pasta are still neatly categorized.  She's been eating though, and has had enough.  She picks up her after-dinner chocolate (the traditional Olive Garden fare: Andes mints in silver wrappers) and lovingly unwraps it.  She takes a bite; she savors it; she takes another.  We discuss how delicious the combination of mint and chocolate can be.  She laughs at Lauren across the table, still talking on her pasta-phone.

Lauren: She's done now.  Her last forced bite of chicken has been swallowed, her last spaghetti-conversation has been finished, and she's ready for her treat.  Justin helps her unwrap the chocolate, and she chomps down with gusto.  Abruptly, her eyes narrow.  Her brow furrows, and her lips pop open; this must be a trick?!  SHE DOESN'T LIKE MINT!  She swallows forcibly, reaching for a cup of water and glaring at the leftover half of candy.  Thoughtfully, she turns it over; only one side is green....the other side is pure, unadulterated chocolate.  She begins licking that side.  She picks at it, hoping to salvage her treat.  Her lips and nose are covered in chocolate now. She is a mess as she gives up and discards the mint with a promise of a better treat at home. 

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The rainbow of colors these two girls emit are so vastly different, so uniquely interesting.  Not better or worse or more or less.  Just different.  And beautifully blinding.  And funny.  So funny.

6 comments:

  1. Great post. I, too, marvel at the similarities and mostly the differences between my children. It's so funny to think that they came from the same parents, live in the same environment, do virtually all the same things and go the same places and yet they are each very much their own different person. Hey, have you bought your running shoes? :)

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  2. I love the process of discovering who my boys are, and mostly I just have to sit back and watch them to "see" them. :)

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  3. Oh, how I love this. That Lauren sounds like she's going to keep you on your toes! Too cute.
    Best,
    Tina

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  4. Spagetti phone! hahaha! That's totally G. So funny. You have entertainment with dinner every time you go out with Lauren, don't you?

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  5. I love how pretty much any object can become a phone if needed. And I love how she tried to salvage her treat!!

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  6. It never ceases to amaze me the differences two people with similar DNA can have! That's one of the things I'm looking forward to -- observing the differences between Lily and her little sister!

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?