ELLEN MARCUS: Time Spent With Daughters Called 'Hissyserical'
My younger daughter just walked into the kitchen with a piece of netting on her head and said, "Hello, husband." I played along and replied, "Hello, bride."
She said, "No! I am the girl getting married." I replied, "Yes, that is what the word bride means." Very suspiciously she asked, "It does?" "Yes," I said. She then asked, "Are you sure?" I told her she was hysterical. She asked, "I am?"
I personally cannot remember when I was four, but I am now reliving it.
Everything I say is either questioned or taken at face value. I tell her, "don't get your cart before your horse." And she replies, "Silly, I don't have a horse and a cart; Mamma, you're 'hissyerical.'"
Hysterical is a word that my girls love to say and mispronounce. I had my own signature word that I have never pronounced correctly but love to say. In college I studied "Doevestecky." Never once did I pronounce that name right. In fact, I took delight in saying it incorrectly three times before my friends and I walked into class, completely jinxing their own ability to say it.
Often my daughters flicker on the edge of uncontrollable giggles and deep soulfulness. The older one looked up from playing one day with liquid brown eyes, her mind reading mine and said, "I am so sorry your Daddy died."
It had been weeks since I sang her a song I had written about my Daddy. Amazingly those words and tune had been playing in her head long after I had hummed them.
When I make up "Bob the Fairy" stories for them, I instinctively know by watching my younger daughter's face when to soften the plot. She was laughing hysterically at the snorting badgers until the badger ate the fairy.
Her terrified response of shocked concern killed my own license to create. I quickly backed up and reworded, "so the badgers don't actually eat the fairies, just their wings." Relief eased the tension. Grumpy, stinky, misunderstood Fairy Bob will live another day, something my youngest can also live with.
She went on happily with her life until I hung the mistletoe in the doorway during the holidays. For some reason, she thought it would eat her. Jeff and I repeatedly kissed underneath it to show her that it was nothing but innocent fun. She swore she saw it move and went through the kitchen to avoid the mistletoe.
When she finally warmed up to it, she couldn't get enough. For the next day, every five minutes we had to stop what we were doing and go kiss her. It was impossible to ignore her standing there with a big grin, hands on hips, waiting for a smooch. She then decided to dictate whose turn it was to kiss her and threw a fit if we went out of order. She became the self-appointed "Mistletoe Nazi." It was enough to make Jeff and me hysterical as our two daughters fought underneath the mistletoe over whose turn it was to get kissed.
One day she informed us that she will have five children at one time and nurse each one of them. Her sister was adamant that she will never have children. I asked her, "It's not because you don't think I like being a mother. I love being a mother even if I don't sometimes act like it." She reassured me, "No, I just won't have enough time."
Another morning when I told she would have to get up early for the rest of her life so she might as well start right now, she slammed me with, "Maybe I will just be a stay-at-home mom."
Standing there in sweats and crazy morning hair, I readily reminded her, "But you don't want kids." "Right," she said and pulled the covers over her head. Right, I thought as I considered climbing back into my own warm bed, with a good book and forgetting that I am a mom for the day.
But then my younger one read my thoughts, looked me in the eye and said, "But you're mommy."
Mistletoe or not I couldn't help but scoop her up and kiss her until she was "hissyerical."
Ellen Marcus is an Aberdeen freelance writer. She may be reached at email@example.com.
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