Raising Miss New York

I live with Miss New York.

She barks orders at me every morning, insisting that her water cup be placed directly in front of her while she watches her morning television shows. If the volume on the boob tube is not to her liking, I am immediately summoned back into the living room to fix it. If her breakfast is too hot, it is requested that I blow on it. On rare occasions when she is extremely fatigued, I even help spoon feed her in an effort to help quicken the morning routine so we can get Miss New York to her destination. She tends to get lonely as well so if I am in the other room grooming myself for too long she yells, "Where are you?" Until I appear.

Then there is the matter of doing her hair. Most of the time I rather enjoy it, but some days I would just as soon see to it that she be given a pixie cut.  After finishing what I believe to be a well-executed braid,  she roughly puts her fingers through one of the braid's intersections as if to test its durability. Inspector Clouseau was never this thorough, I assure you of this. I remind her that by hastily putting her fingers through her hair like that, the braid will come out. This doesn't stop her. In fact, it serves as inspiration to rip the hair band out and throw it across the room.

"It's not tight enough. Fix it!" She bellows like Benito Mussolini's predecessor in training. It takes all the strength I have in me to not do what my heart so desires in moments like those. You know, yanking a few good locks of hair and asking if that's tight enough. Because my husband and I are not getting paid for our butler services, we try our hardest to relentlessly instill manners and discipline in our daughter. Sometimes however there is a fine line between discipline and losing self control when you are dealing with a little monster.

That same monster turns beauty queen in the blink of an eye and was crowned with her tiara from a beauty pageant win... in the family playroom. She has a wild imagination, which of course I completely encourage.  You want to pretend to be a princess; get out your ball gown. You want to dress up like a super hero; villains be warned. You want to make believe that you are going to the moon; enjoy your flight. You want to talk back to me and throw things across the room? Momma don't play that game.

My daughter is four-years-sassy if you couldn't tell already. She is also persistent so when she wants something, I all but have to hold onto a table to keep myself from flying off the handles while being equally persistent and telling her, "No." The basic goal here is to never get a phone call from another parent or teacher detailing how rude, mean or thoughtless our child acted. We are going for honest, kind-hearted and compassionate, with a splash of vigor.... Not a mean and lazy child asshole.

There is also a thin line between funny and fresh that we have to keep in check because both sides of the family tend to have a wild sense of humor. You splash a little MeMa Liz and a dash of Grandma Joanie into someone's genes and you get unbridled fun. 

Just the other evening I allowed Madison to stay up later because my husband was on a business trip. I know most of you are thinking, why not put her to bed even earlier and enjoy complete solitude with no one around? Well, that wouldn't be very me now would it?  I am a glutton for punishment and relish in moments like this...

We had on "America's Got Talent." Don't judge. It was the only non-animated and clean show that we could watch together and it just so happened that there was a family running around on the stage with their pups. Madison loves most dogs, so watching them jump through hoops and line up paw-to-back made Maddie squeal with glee.

"That's just ridiculous. Look at them, Mommy!" The dogs were dressed up in little winter coats and some even had on furry winter hats. Before I could answer her, Madison had run into the other room.

"Where you going? You will miss the rest of the doggies," I cautioned.

"I have to go pee, pee out of my wee, wee," Fresh, but fresher was what happened next...

Miss Madison darted from the bathroom to the playroom and then presented herself in the living room 30 seconds later completely nude with cat ears on her head and a long piece of toilet paper tucked in the crack of her little rear end.

"I'm a puppy, woof woof," She said with her palms down and tongue out.

It was so well-played that I had to look away so I could stifle my hyena laugh. I knew a zany sense of humor was genetic and in my humble opinion necessary to survive, but I always remind myself that I have to tread carefully.  Too crazy too young is a child gone completely wild that grows into an obnoxious preteen that you want to slap across the face. Like most four-year-olds however Madison exudes this contagious joy and wonder that you want to blanket yourself in.

There was the time I asked her if she liked making chocolate at Hersey Park.....

"Thanks to Hershey Park!" She often gave acceptance speeches when she was excited about something and then laid down the law in the next breath, "But we didn't make the chocolate, the factory did." How can you argue with something so true? All we did was follow the piece of chocolate around the factory while the machines did the real work.

Then of course the night before her family birthday party when I asked her if she was excited to see everyone.......

"Oh please, don't let me tell you about my family... that would take AGES!

Or the afternoon she acted like a teenager when we pulled up to her cousin's house....

"I am so excited I could just scream... Aaaaah!"

Or when she spoke to me like an old Jewish mother while she reapplied my lipstick.....

"You're so pregnant," She said pitying my growing baby bump and swelling ankles.

I try to approach motherhood with the same sense of humor my mother did which may be rubbing off on my impressionable daughter, but hey, I'm providing her with priceless armor! If you can laugh, you will thrive. Simple motto; Priceless outcome.

I dream of a 'How To' version of the dictionary that tells you exactly what to do to instill the best characteristics in your child. These are the moments where I channel the great Liz Dellapenta who would assure me that there is no way my kids will ever be perfect and to just deal with it! Geez. I suppose lacking some qualities gives a person something to strive for. Or something for a mother to stress over? 

I cannot assure that my daughters will always do the right thing, nor can I assure that they will be the most generous, polite or compassionate. Even Miss New York has to work on perfecting those traits.  I can however confirm that while they are under my roof they will try. Fifth place or honorable mention is just fine with my husband and I because it is not the medals, trophies and crowns that our children win that matter. We want them to appreciate the process that took them through their journeys to success and more so, we want them to recognize the people that surrounded them during it.

Because you see, when you have a sister, the best awards are won at home when you are laughing, learning and pretending that your headbands are tiaras together.

Miss New Jersey


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