My mom often enjoys the relating the story about her first-ever parent-teacher conference. The story goes like this: my brother Dave, her dear first-born, had always been a well-behaved and quiet child. Very quiet. So imagine my mom’s surprise when his kindergarten teacher noted that Dave was a “good student, but disruptive to the class.” Disruptive? Her David? Oh no. The teacher must have her sweet, subdued son confused with somebody else.
Oh yes. Her David. Turns out, when surrounded by an audience of other kids, he made Robin Williams look downright mute in comparison.
I don’t think he has stopped talking since.
As the youngest child who, naturally, relishes hearing about my siblings being naughty, this story has always made me laugh until… it became my reality. Only just the opposite. You see, my 13-month-old daughter is quite vocal and sassy at home. Not poorly behaved, just LOUD — very loud — babbling to us, to herself, to the cats, to the television and to the dust particles in the air pretty much nonstop. The other day when we were taking Skye for a walk in her stroller, I turned to my husband and exclaimed, “Did you hear that weird bird? What the hell WAS that squawking?” To which he responded, “That was your daughter.” Yes, that’s right — my child is apparently indigenous to the African Rainforest and not my womb, after all.
Another tidbit about “At-Home Skye” (if you live within a ten-thousand-mile radius of us, you probably already know this): When we dare to suggest that Skye lie down in her comfy crib for a nap, you would think we were forcing her to watch Jonah Hex on repeat with the way she kicks and SCREEEAAAMS in protest. Poor thing. Such abuse! Oh, what I wouldn’t give for somebody to tuck ME into bed in the middle of the day and say, “Here! Sleep as long as you want! That’s an order!” (Somebody besides the voices in my head, that is.)
So imagine MY surprise when I pick up my daughter from daycare and the teachers coo, “Skye is so quiet! So well-behaved! We rarely hear a peep out of her!”
My Skye? Oh no. The teacher must have my little ball of sass confused with somebody else.
Oh yes. My Skye. Turns out, she not only morphs into a quiet angel upon entering the school’s doors, she also lies down on her naptime mat peacefully. And willingly. And SLEEPS FOR TWO HOURS AT A TIME. After which, she chows down on vegetables that make her scoff upon sight at home and allows her teacher to clip her fingernails, another activity akin to attempted murder when done by her parents.
“Whose child ARE you?” I asked Skye, utterly confused, as we walked to the car after school. The second my daughter’s butt hit the car seat, safely out of her teachers’ hearing range, she playfully grabbed my face and answered: