Annika has declared that I am no longer allowed to laugh at her. Ever. I tried explaining to her that I laugh at the things she says and does because she makes me so happy. "And when you're really happy, sometimes you just have to laugh!" Unconvinced, she is standing firm in her "Don't laugh at me" rule. I know that enforcing this type of rule is her way of asserting her developing maturity, and I'm also guessing that there might be some dynamic from preschool that she's picked up on (like maybe Mrs. Val told the kids it wasn't nice to laugh when a classmate was having difficulties). But, still. It's somewhere close to impossible to keep a straight face when your kid says things like this:
1) Annika is sitting on the toilet at Lincoln Park zoo. As usual, she approaches the job with a leisurely attitude. I'm leaning against the stall door, studying the ceiling to fend off boredom. I hear the sound of ripping toilet paper, and look down, eager to finally make an exit. Instead, Annika is holding a tiny square of nearly transparent toilet paper aloft. "Look, mama!" she exclaims breathlessly. "I'm going to save this for my Memory Book!"
2) Annika talks her grandma into letting her wrap up in her favorite jacket, a blue fleece number with flowers appliqued on the pockets. As we sit in silent companionship around the kitchen table, a very audible fart is heard from Annika's corner. A few seconds later, Annika buries her nose her grandma's jacket, wrapped tight around her. "Phew! Grandma, your jacket really stinks
3) Annika hops onto my lap and gives me a big hug and kiss. Snuggling in, she spreads her hand right over my chest. "Mama's breast." She sighs. "It's the best!"
4) On her way into the hospital this afternoon, Annika holds up her index finger, drawing my attention to the hangnail that developed last night. "Could you tell the doctors to take care of this for me when I am asleep for surgery?"
I tell you, I think I have done some serious cheek and lip damage in the past few weeks trying to respect the "No Laughing" edict.
But then there is parental difficulty of another kind altogether. This afternoon when I announced it was time to go check in to the hospital, Annika tried every stalling tactic imaginable. I finally got her out the door, but as we headed up the familiar hill leading to the revolving hospital door, she held my hand and pulled me back. "Not yet, mama! Not yet!"
I hear you, little girl.
p.s. Annika has loved getting her mail! The address I gave below is still good, even though she's in the hospital. Plus, wow! Her good friend, Natalie with the Addictive Laugh, is being featured on Make a Child Smile