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Monday, February 07, 2011

My parents called it 'stubborn' - I call it 'awesome'

Monday, February 07, 2011 By

Emmie comes up to me with a deck of cards: "Pick a card, any card," she says.

I pull out the Jack of clubs.

She reshuffles the deck. I watch intently. She has seen the card, but if she can just find it again, I'll be impressed.

She tilts her head and squints her eyes: "Iiiiiisss this your card?"

It is the five of hearts.

"No, sweetie."

She frowns. Ponders the deck. Pulls one.

"Iiiiiiissss this your card?"

It is the King of spades.

"No, darling."

"Hmmm..." she says. Thinks. Pulls another.

"Iiiiiiisss this your card?"

It is not my card. None of the next five are my card. Nor are the next 10.

"I'm doing magic," she tells me, confident and undeterred.

"I can see that. You made my card disappear."

It is good she doesn't get my joke. I like he persistence, her assurance. She has no idea how to do this trick, but she knows she can. She just keeps trying. Sometimes I worry that she'll lack confidence or determination. But then I remember how much of it she was born with, naturally.

I always think back to when she was an infant, crawling on the hardwood floors in our old apartment on the Hill. Whenever she came to an inanimate obstacle, she refused to crawl around it. In a show of genetic solidarity with both her father and me, she just put her head down and pushed her way through. I once watched her roll the office chair, with her head, all the way across the living room.

She often hung on to the dog's tail or collar, and let Scrabble drag her around while she belly-laughed and I chased them both, trying to catch them, panicked that she would fall and hit her head. Which, of course, she did several times. She'd cry - and then get back up again.

But when there was no 11-pound beast of burden to ferry her to her next destination, she crawled with such determination that I knew she was going to be trouble. If she came to Scrabble lounging in a patch of sunlight in her path, she would bellow, "MOOB, RARA!" And he did, every time.

She was 13-months old.


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