A Little More About #4

Don't be fooled.

My current favorites: #4 and Casey.

To anyone reading this who lives in my house: I am fickle regarding my favorites, and easily bought off with brownies. Homemade, no icing.

We’re coming up on #4’s fifth grade promotion. She started first grade when the kids came to live with us, so she’s the only one who has completed all grades (minus kindergarten) in the same elementary school.

I remember dropping her off at the school’s blacktop those first few weeks. I held #5 in my arms, watching while #3 and #2 ran off to their brand-new friends, but #4 lined up for class and just stood there crying without sound. It ripped my heart out and I couldn’t fix it. It lasted a few weeks; she quickly became our most social kid, much more interested in hanging out with her friends than in anything related to school, or responsibility.

She often balks at doing her chores when there’s a babysitter on. One night when she was in first grade, the sitter gave her the option: she could either do her chores or go to bed early. As in right now: two full hours before bedtime.

#4 gladly opted to go to bed.

In second grade, her class was assigned a biography project. It was supposed to be a big (relative to the second grade) research thing, culminating in a posterboard and a presentation where each student dressed as their subject. #4’s subject was Hillary Clinton, revealing a deep, subconscious need to piss her father off.

We didn’t know anything about the project, despite all of the notices regarding deadlines that were apparently sent home with her. Our first awareness of it came when we received a call from her teacher.

Teacher: The deadline for the biography project is rapidly approaching and she hasn’t turned in any of her materials.

Us: Uh, what biography project?

We had a talk with her that night. Found out she hadn’t even read the book yet. We asked her why she hadn’t done any of the work, why she hid the project from us.

#4: I didn’t feel like doing it.

Discounting her lies of omission, she is probably our most honest kid.

In the morning she doesn’t want to get up, is slow to get moving, can’t find anything to wear because it’s all wadded up on the floor of her closet or else in her bed, and finds any number of distractions as she is supposedly getting ready for school, many of which end with her forgetting homework or some other essential item for school, like pants. This is only on school mornings. Weekends she’s up before 7am. Yet as much as she complains about school, she practically runs there every day.

She can’t have nice things.  She desperately wanted Uggs for about two years, not hung up on the name but fixated instead on how very comfy they are. Uggs are stupidly expensive, so I got her a slightly less expensive knockoff for Christmas in her favorite color. She was in love. But before Christmas vacation was over, she had projectile vomited on their lovely, untreated purple suede. From the top bunk.

She loses her shoes. What I mean by this is she will lose one of a pair, permanently, and this has happened more than once.

Any new pants she gets are immediately ripped; new shirts are instantly stained.

#3 got a pink Abercrombie sweatshirt once that she literally loved to pieces. Finally, it was so torn and stained that we had to throw it away.

#4 showed up wearing it a week later, expressing her belief that anything in the trash is fair game, and everything is appropriate to wear to school.

CC has said to her at the dinner table on numerous occasions, “You look homeless.”

Here’s the thing: In nearly every way, #4 is exactly like me. Exactly. I was like that as a kid and I haven’t changed all that much. How is it possible that this child, who shares none of my genes, has all of my train wreck characteristics? She didn’t learn them from me, she came with them. When we met, that chaotic, disorganized part of my soul that hates following through on anything and has a hard time finding a matching pair of socks looked out at her in recognition and said, Oh, hey! There’s two of us? Oh, dear. 

#4 was being given a hard time at dinner tonight by #3 because she lost a headband that was loaned to her. Her defense?

#4: Don’t loan me things. It ends bad. (Looks up from plate) What? I speak the truth.

I know, sweetie. I know.