I was not always a good girl so when the heavens saw that I have a daughter, the Supreme Being decided to teach me a lesson.
He made my daughter Antoinette Elena just like me.
I am not talking about the physical makeup. She does not look like me at all although some people insist that she has my eyes.
Antoinette was made in the “image and likeness” of my temper.
That is dangerous, very dangerous.
She is also adventurous.
She can freely roam the mall, the park, the airport without me or her Dad. You won’t see her crying. I bet she already figured out the location of the information kiosk and thought to herself that she could just approach the person incharge and tell him or her to page Mr. and Mrs. Rufffolo.
She is pretty strong willed, a trait which in my teenage years had proven to bring me troubles so I am basically on my toes watching my daughter turn into this kind of human being that is quite familiar to me.
We were at Fort San Pedro and Plaza Independencia last Saturday when we all saw the playground area. We ran to the area – all three mutants plus their cousin Timothy (a.k.a. Manoy Bootcheek), my mother, my brother Hendrix, Ate Joy and myself – with food bags in town.
Antoinette took of her shoes and ran to a puddle of water. In the muddy water, my daughter exclaimed, “Best thing ever!”
Antoinette has a minion; her two-year-old younger brother Jeff Junior, who followed what she did. Great! Now we have to change their clothes, socks and footwear. The other parents in the park stared at us and probably thought, “What kind of children find muddy water of exciting?!”
It rained that morning so there were “mini swimming pools” by the playground area. Antoinette refused to change to clean clothes. We let her be. She played for 30 minutes with no shoes on her feet. She did not care. She was having fun. It was protective because it was a public park and most public parks in the Philippines are not really known to be clean and sanitary. I checked the surroundings and it was surprisingly well maintained and there was no garbage or anything gross around us so I calmed down and let her play.
Oh how she loved it!
After 30 minutes, I told her that Ate Joy will take her to clean her up. She fought against it for a bit and uttered the notorious, “No! I won’t do it!” and “No! I won’t listen.”
I gave her THE LOOK.
She responded with a scowl, bowed down her head and cried.
She was cleaned up when my brother Hendrix put her on his back as they ran around the park. She loves that her Uncle Hendrix loves to play with her and she gets special treatment because she is the only girl.
Antoinette’s temper is famous for causing me to lose my temper. The meltdowns are irritating, annoying and downright abrasive. I hate it with every fiber of my being. When she throws a tantrum in a public place, I walk away. I do not pick her up. I do not comfort her. I do not tell her it’s okay. I simply walk away. Slowly of course and with Ate Joy watching her from the other side.
When it’s just the two of us and she is on the initial stage of a meltdown, I look at her in the eye and say, “If you throw yourself on the ground, then I would have to leave you.” Often times, it works. She stops her drama, stands up and tells me we can go on walking.
I am of the belief that my daughter is wiser than her years. I feel that her soul is older than her physical age. Antoinette’s eyes show the depth of her maturity. I look into her eyes and I see it. It feels like staring into the soul of a person who knows the answer to all the questions which have long since plagued humankind.
I can tell from the way she answers my questions.
“So how was the house like today Toni?”
“It was okay. JJ was nice. We ate spaghetti and meatballs. I got tired. Dad said I should sleep so I went to bed. Nicholas sing many songs. JJ said ‘I love you Manang.’ It was nice.”
When we want things to get done at home, we call Antoinette.
She turns off electric fans when not in use. She closes and opens doors. She picks up trash and throws them in the proper containers. She places dirty clothes in the laundry basket. She cooks; she sets the table.
She helps me get dressed too. If she can iron clothes, I swear she will do it. She likes make up and Hello Kitty. She loves to draw and color pictures. She sings too!
Antoinette does not like other girls so we are working on exposure her to activities with other little girls. But so far, all she did was to terrorize them by acting like aa thug. She loves her dresses but she moves and acts like her brothers. She is even more aggressive than the boys. We are working on her manners when she deals with other girls. I know she will eventually learn to process her emotions and become nicer to other girls.
For the time being, I am staring at this mini-version of myself and wonder at the sheer power of Heavenly Father for bestowing on me a creature after my own temper.
I am not complaining.
Really grateful for the Heavens for teaching me a lesson; a lesson on loving myself… that if I can love and accept this girl whose temper is as worse as mine, then I can definitely love and accept myself for the person I have become since Antoinette and her brothers came into my life.