Saturday, October 29, 2011


Katie writes, colors, paints, draws, brushes her teeth, combs her hair, and throws a ball with her left hand. But she drop-kicks a ball with her right foot.

She also uses a computer mouse with her right hand. And since she was old enough to have hair on her head, she's twirled the right side of her hair with her right hand.

Today Katie got a paper cut on her right hand while reading a library book about our solar system. Tonight at bedtime, lying under the stars, moon, and planets Will pasted to her ceiling, she called out, "Mother, I twirl my hair with dis hand (holds up her right hand) not dis hand (holds up her left hand)!" She grabbed a handful of hair with her left hand and impatiently jabbed at her head as if she were trying to twirl her hair with absolutely no control over her left hand.

I wanted to laugh at her exaggerated fake incompetence, but I knew hair twirling is her thing. Like sucking my thumb was my thing. Like sleeping with a lovey is some children's thing. So I sat at the edge of her bed and asked, "What can you do to comfort yourself if you can't twirl with your right hand?" She stuck her thumb in her mouth, something she's picked up lately from her kindergarten boyfriend Aiden. A couple days after she announced they were boyfriend and girlfriend, Katie asked me why Aiden sucks his thumb.

"Probably to comfort himself when he feels scared or tired or unsure, like you do when you twirl your hair."

So tonight she tried to suck her thumb, but it lasted about ten seconds before she pulled it out and smiled. She was never big on binkies as a baby either. Just hair twirling.

"Why are you smiling?" I asked.

"You're cute when you care." Katie pulled my face to her and planted a big kiss on my lips.

"I'm cute when I care?" I asked, wondering where she heard something like that.

"Yes!" She laughed. "You're cute when you care about me, Mama."

It seems like such an oddly condescending thing for a five year old to say to her forty year old mother, but I'll take it. It's cute she thinks I'm cute when I care.

I left her room, then peeked on her about two minutes later. Sound asleep. Hair untwirled.