Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Twelve is back from her trip, safe and sound and pretty much her usual incorrigible self. I’m incredibly relieved. As I sat waiting in the airport outside security the other morning, I was dreading the possibility that she’d be sullen, distant, and not happy to see me. However, when she came into view she was smiling in the usual manner, ready for a hug as usual.

I watched her carefully (surreptitiously of course) for a few days, just to be sure. Perhaps there are deeper-seated issues that don't show right away, I thought. Maybe it will take a few days for the change to kick in. Nope, still wants to be tucked in and back rubbed at bedtime. Still sleeps with Soft Blanky. Still gets up and ready for school reliably. Okay, sigh of relief, we're in good shape.

And then she started driving me bonkers.

She's been good at finding ways to annoy us for awhile now, and it doesn't usually get too far out of hand. Usually she pushes it until I get really annoyed, and then she backs off. Hovering is a pretty awful technique; that's when she stands right behind you, puts her hands on your shoulders, and whispers breathily, "hover hover hover." It may not sound like much, but it's the WORST THING EVER and she knows it.

To quote Ramona Quimby's father's grandmother: "First time is funny, second time is silly, third time is a spanking." We've altered this somewhat for Twelve: Third time is I'm taking away your iPod.

The latest annoying thing is startling me. As in, literally, finding ways to activate my fairly sensitive startle reflex.

I startle ridiculously easily when people appear unexpectedly. I've been known to scream when roommates come into the room. R has learned that if he comes home when I'm in the shower or in my sewing room, it's a really good idea to jangle the keys in the living room, rattle the bedroom doorknob, and/or make noise coming down the stairs. (What, it's not fun to be hollered at when you get home?)

Twelve has taken this one step farther. Imagine you're getting ready to exit the bathroom, just minding your own business, and when you open the door, boom! right there at eye level is a face: Huge, wide-eyed, grinning. It's as bad as hovering, with the added awful element of surprise. And then, of course, the giggling, which is infectious, so your protestations are that much less effective.

She also likes to try and sneak into the room. Simpler, but effective enough when it works, and it doesn't require standing motionless in wait outside the bathroom door. Luckily this house is old and creaky and she is terrible at suppressing giggles, so it doesn't work very often, but every now and then I turn around and there she is.

Twelve, you're completely obnoxious, and you know it, which is why you're laughing uncontrollably. Yes, I do think it's funny for about seven seconds, but then you must stop or I must run away. I can tell that you know this as well, because you're saying "I love you" and trying to hug me through your laughter in that play-placating way that you have so finely honed.

I'm so glad that you're home, Twelve, and you'll never know how relieved I am that you're still yourself. Now, cut it out or I'm taking your iPod!

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