Posts Tagged ‘bossy’

At Four You’re Right

6 December 2011

Dear J-

There are some days you just don’t want to listen to your parents and you’re pretty well convinced that you know everything there is. For me, documenting what happened twenty years ago has been humbling: I see the nascent beginnings of who I am today wrapped up in pride and uncertainty in what I’ve done and accomplished, and what I have projected before me. Were you to tell me then that I’d be making those thoughts freely available without a book deal or even some hint of fame I’d have laughed and told you that future-me wasn’t ambitious enough: fame was fate for being that guy — to crack the riddle of fusion, the professor that everyone liked.

At the time I still had my parents driving me on to be the very best I could be, or at least getting the most out of the opportunities that came my way. And I hated it. So much control they had over everything: where to go, what to do, reminders and discipline. When I’m on my own, I vowed twenty years ago, when I’m on my own I’ll make sure things are different. Indeed. Doritos for dinner? Why not? The only thing keeping me sane some of those late school nights after high school was pride: class standings and reputation: still more external measures of how I’m doing (are you proud enough now huh?).

I’m amused (bemused) when I look at figgy and think about what she has to look forward to and how much she’s dealing with now; she is possibly the bossiest creature I’ve ever met and convinced, stubbornly, that she’s right as rain, directing us in complex play schemes barely limited by imagination and imitation (“OK now you be Santa and put presents in the stockings. PUT THEM IN.”) These are things you lear on your own: crushing your dreams into something small to put in your pocket for later, swallowing ambition for stability, admitting you’re wrong once in a while. If life is a movie filmed inside our eyes (at twenty-four frames per second, in vivid surround sound) then we cast ourselves as star: it’s up to us to remember the plot right, or at least ad-lib our way through the intro. She’s doing fine and we laugh a lot which at four I think is completely right.



bossy girls

24 May 2011

This note from theVet:

So I dropped off figgy this morning and her friend S_____ told her (as she does every morning), “Now, say goodbye to Calcifer.”

Ms. Vanessa put some red plastic charts on the table and two other girls come up to inspect them. figgy tells them (in a very bossy tone), “Don’t touch! We don’t do that, right S_____?”

S_____’s like, “Yeah!”

It’s scary how alike they are. I think I’m going to start calling them the “bossy posse” 😉

Two Faces

26 April 2011


Dear J-

The big social obligation is over: as both my brother and I are visiting my parents wanted to host a party and while the turnout wasn’t huge it was respectable and most of all figgy got a chance to run around with her cousins. Typically when we meet up with family it’s in a restaurant where the norm is decorous ingestion of food, not screaming and jumping as four-year-olds are capable of for hours on end. The contrast was especially marked in comparison with the morning, when we went to the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. We picked a day that coincided with a couple of field trips and so she spent the morning getting jostled by bigger kids and pushed out of the way. The quiet figgy we saw was nothing like the bossy (let’s be charitable and say leader) kid we saw this afternoon, commanding fiercely.

I love that about her: the unerring ability to seize a comfortable relationship and twist it for her own ends, though it’s often hard to appreciate when I’m the one getting bossed around. It’s therefore hard to see her in the unfamiliar not wanting to take charge, though that’s no doubt because no one feels comfortable in awkward social situations (they wouldn’t be awkward if you felt comfortable, after all). We are just passengers on the ride some days, and we are in awe of how fast she has picked up the basics of manipulation and reasoning, trying to make us pawns without much success yet. We bribe her to get through the day (if this, then reward) and little tasks so I wonder how the rest of the childhood gets any easier.

We are getting older. Colds seem a bit more severe with every new virus and I know it’s not just because the bugs keep getting stronger. Our metabolism has definitely slowed down and the burgers stick around so much longer. There will come a time — and no doubt soon — when the charismatic lies she tells us will be indistinguishable from what we see to be the truth. The longer we keep guiding her though the better off we are in the long run and we just need to remind her who gets hurt in these situations. We’re getting older, and she has a long road to run.