Saturday, December 08, 2007

Our Christmas Letter - Part Callie

It's taken me a few days to get around to writing Callie's part of the Christmas letter because - well, because Callie is a very complex individual and I'm not sure that I can put into words what it is like having her around. Let's start with this...Callie is intense. Everything she does, she does intensely. Whether she's terrorizing one of our pets, laughing hysterically, throwing a tantrum, singing a song, eating pancakes, or running around the playground. It doesn't seem to matter what she's doing at a particular moment; whatever she's doing, she does it with a focus and undistractability that seem both common and impossible for a kid her age. Here's what I mean by that. When you're out shopping and you see a kid throwing a fit, the kid may seem to be impossible to soothe. Callie does that - she can be impossible to soothe. That's the common part. The impossible part is this: she applies that focus to everything else she does. If she has her mind set on having a book read to her before she goes to sleep, it is highly unlikely that you'll be able to convince her that she's had enough books read to her and that she needs to go straight to sleep. It is much more likely that after battling for several minutes over whether or not you will read the book, she'll win. You'll read the book as quickly as possible and then leave her room with your head down and your tail between your legs. Because you just got beat by a two year old. And, unfortunately, you'll realize as you retreat back to your safe place that it wasn't the first time that day you were beat by a two year old. It's more likely that she won several battles that day. And, probably, if you're able to look at it with an ounce of humility, you'll realize that most of the battles you lost really, in the long run, were not important battles but you wanted to win them anyway. Because you're human and because you know that you're older and wiser than this strategic, intense little child. But she's smart. And she doesn't give up. She must have the last word, she must throw the last toy, she must knock over the last wooden-block building, she must eat the last pancake. She knows where your buttons are and how many times she needs to push them to get you to make yourself look ridiculous. She knows where her sister's buttons are, too, and her sister reacts just like the rest of us - she screams, she cries, she wants to win. But she rarely does.

When Callie is sweet, she is so very sweet. When you sing her a song at night she strokes your hair, she touches your cheeks, she smiles at you with her devilishly sweet little face. That is one up-side of her intensity. When you find her in a good mood, when you agree with what she wants, you will never meet a more angelic, a more stunningly joyful, bright, and beautiful little girl. The other benefit of her intensity is this, and I have known this to be true since she was just a few weeks old. This child will grow into a woman who will not be pushed around, who will never be abused, who will make her opinion known and who will get what she wants. What an honor it is to be given the responsibility of raising such a child. I have to believe that God believes that Scott and I can raise Callie to want good, to want to give, to want the best for those around her. I have to believe that, because a child with a personality like Callie's could become a monster, a menace to those around her. If her energy is not directed toward something positive, she could be very destructive. But with the right direction at this formative time in her life, she should grow into a constructive, positively influential adult. And so I am trying to be careful. I am trying to choose her activities, her friends, her environments carefully so that she will be exposed to only those things that will help her to become what God has envisioned for her. But, sometimes we battle and when we do she often wins. And when she wins I tend to look ridiculous. And I'm sure that when I look ridiculous, as soon as I look away from her, she sits back, crosses her arms, and with sparkling eyes, she giggles. She's a winner...and she knows it.

Cute picture, eh? Don't let her sweet face fool you... ;)

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