Split personality a hint of things to come?


Katie's 3 going on 15.

When's she's being a 3-year-old, she crawls into bed, snuggles up against me and says "you're my best friend." She's also quick to apologize and will pat me on the back, saying "is OK momma, I gotcha."

When's she's in her 15-year-old personality, she kicks the wall when she's being punished by having to stand in the corner and virulently, but quietly, cusses me in her secret language (I don't understand that language, but I can tell she's cussing me). The other aspects of her "maturity" are more subtle -- body language mostly. The furrowing of her brow when I ask a question she doesn't want to answer, the narrowing of her eyes when I tell her "no".

There's also her not-so-subtle body language -- the times when she fake sobs her entire stay in the corner or throws herself to the floor in protest (once a drama queen always a drama queen).

I'm not sure what age that behavior reflects, but I'm pretty scared that it's something that'll last till she moves out.

On the days when I wish for a little more self-reliance on her part, I try to remind myself of Katie's split personality. If she's like this now, what will she be like when she really hits those teen years?

What I'm really worried about is that my tough and independent Katie will negatively influence my sweet and cuddly Nikki (of course, I'm working under the assumption that no other natural force would ever change Nikki -- not natural aging, not hormones, nothing).

It's already starting, though. What's funny is that Nikki doesn't really know the appropriate times and uses for "attitude."

She asks for a bottle and just to make sure, I repeat, "you want a bottle?"

Then she spits out "OK, OK," like I'm forcing it on her. When she's in a bad mood and you ask her a question, she gives you a scathing "no tanku." If it weren't for her tone, you'd think she was the most polite little thing you ever met.

It's just her timing. It's all off, but she does have the attitude down.

It's a Jekyll and Hyde show at my house all the time.

From what I understand, I'm not alone. All parents pretty much bat .500 when trying to predict what their children are going to do.

On an unrelated note (and for those who read last's week's column): The fish drama continues. Of the four fake fish liberated from the tank, all are missing in action, including the beloved Nemo.

It was VERY traumatic. Before he was officially listed as lost for good, I was waken from a dead sleep very early on my day off by Nikki crying "fishy gone, fishy gone."

I had absolutely no solution and my brain was too groggy to be creative.

It was a rough morning.

She found him hours later (by sheer luck) and there was a short celebration before Katie stole him.

I'm not sure which I prefer -- the whining or fighting.

So, I found a similar fish tank in a magazine, and guess what -- the fish were sold separately. I ordered two sets (been through trying to share one. Don't want to do it again). Total cost: $20. I still can't believe that I spent $20 on plastic fish that I'm sure won't last two weeks. For an additional $9.95 (per item), I could've had them here in five days. It's been rough waiting, but I decided I couldn't justify an additional $20. If I would've, they'd be here today.

I'm starting to think that peace of mind is priceless.

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