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Just a fool for a girl

Submitted by on Thursday, 1 April 2010 No Comment

He stood guard at the park for a half hour, pushing her gently in a swing and delighting at the toddler giggles. He was convinced that he couldn’t leave because a departure would upset her.

He escorted her through the mall the next day, introducing her as The President and insisting that people bow. I quickly got him over the notion that we bow to the president, though I did point out that soldiers have to salute. I also taught him to hum “Hail to the Chief.”

He stroked her arm and sang “Hush, Little Baby” when she was uncharacteristically cranky because she was in need of a nap.

And the second she shows up, Big Guy’s mood becomes instantly sunny no matter how many storm clouds were hovering before her arrival.  Her mere presence transforms Big Guy into Big Sucker.

It’s sweet and it’s cute, and it’s totally unexpected. Big Guy, who’s been at least 50 percent cantankerous for 75 percent of his life, turns to mush around a toddler.

It’s such a contrast to his attitude when Boots arrived and he’d cry and plead with me to put That Baby down. But, then, this baby doesn’t live here and constantly compete with him for attention. Big Guy can enjoy her company and appreciate her without it being a threat to him.

Appreciate her, he does. “Oh, Mama, she’s soooooooo cute!” Or, “Listen! She learned a new word!”

He’s also at her beck and call, running to the fridge to refill her sippy cup if she asks. Never mind that filling a cup is beyond his capabilities if he’s the one who wants a drink.

And he’s an enthusiastic teacher as well, patiently showed her how to navigate the stairs at our house instead of scoffing, “you’ll just never get it” as he does when Boots is trying to master a new task.

It makes me feel guilty in a way as I wonder if there was something I could have done four years ago to have cultivated more compassion toward his brother.

On the other hand, it’s great to see the heart of gold beneath all the bluster. The kid’s gonna be all right.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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