Monday, January 7, 2013

Facebook Monday: On having an attitude

This is my nephew, though Addison's made similar expressions.

As noted on the Facebook page this past week, our current road trip is marking a transition point in Addison's young life. Where once the kid, pinioned by child restraints, had little room for anything but anguish and a piercing scream (you know that moment in The Princess Bride where Wesley screams in the Pit of Despair, and everyone for miles and miles around stops what they're doing and is momentarily transfixed by the horrible sound? Yeah, it was like that), she's now broken through to another plane, one marked by the question, "Why?" She's asked us serious questions before, but the endlessly repeating three-letter interrogative brings things to a whole different level.

Although we can still sense under the surface a simmering resentment at road-trip imprisonment, she's getting old enough to read books in the car, draw pictures in the car, watch movies in the car, and have long, exhausting conversations in the car. Here is one of the last kind that we had recently:

Addison: Why Vanessa say "No!" to Eric?

Me: Huh?

Addison: Vanessa. In the Yittle Mermaid. Why she say "No!" to marry Prince Eric?

Lindsay: She wants to marry Eric. I don't think she said no.

Addison: She did! Why?

Me (closing my eyes to try to remember the scene, which I've seen with Addison about three times in the last week): Was it right before she turned into an octopus and said, "Eric, No!" when Eric tries to kiss Ariel?

Addison: Yes. Why she say "No!" She is mean.

What follows is a long conversation in which Lindsay tries to explain all of the reasons that Vanessa/Ursula says "No!" and Addison says "but why?" exactly 17 times. And then Addison gives us this:

Addison (ignoring most of Lindsay's explanation): Sometimes I say "No!" very mean to Mommy and Daddy. I say, No!


Addison: Why do I say that, mama?

Lindsay: Is it because you have an attitude?

Addison: Yes.
After this conversation, Addison settled back into her seat, satisfied. Sometimes it feels as though her "why?" questions are engineered for our benefit, for us to guess what she is thinking, rather than for her to find out anything about the world from us. So now we know; the kid's got an attitude. Wouldn't have ever guessed it before.