Friday, January 4, 2008

At Least We Know She Won't Break Under Torture

Wrestling my recalcitrant daughter into her car seat is NOT what I had in mind when I was just aspiring to later-in-life momhood, still in the throes of a long campaign against infertility, and bucking myself up with visions of sweet babies dancing in my head. But as Hillary Clinton's lately been saying, "You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose."

Or in my case, curses muttered in furious frustration that come back to haunt me seconds later when my son, in the adjacent car seat, gleefully repeats them.

"Goddamit!" my son blurts, with a delighted look on his face as he tries out this new, clearly naughty, and therefore deliciously fun to utter, turn of phrase. Meanwhile, I continue a desperate struggle to secure Thing 2 into her car seat for her own safety, a point that is entirely lost on her. As she has on other, similar occasions, Thing 2 proves as expert at arching her back as a Santa Monica yoga instructor. She screams with the lung power of a Wagnerian opera heroine.

But what's really, truly, astonishing in a creature of less than thirty pounds, is the size of her will.

My girl does not give in.

Writhing, kicking, twisting and contorting, she keeps it up as she wears me down.

Other late-blooming-moms I know -- admirable, steadfast, capable women who know a thing or two about what it takes to be a wife, mom, and working woman in this world -- assure me that my daughter's having a strong will is a quality that will stand her in good stead later in life. But in the midst of the great car seat battle of '07, the way I put it -- to my neighbor, who happened to be passing by in our shared condo garage -- was this: "At least we know she won't break under torture."

My friends are right: persistence and determination are going to make my daughter a force with whom to be reckoned some day.

I just hope it's day she's in her garage, wrestling her own daughter into her car seat.

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