You may recall that I visited Kira last year, too, and it was a wonderful trip and I had a hard time leaving. I was just getting to know her boys, and while I’d been allowed to freely snoogle the baby, I knew that she would be a whole different person this year, and it was hard to leave her sweet babylump self knowing that that she would change so much before I could see her again.
What I hadn’t anticipated—despite Kira’s stories in the intervening year—was that when I returned it would be to boys who had grown a bit, yes, but also to a tiny, adorable tyrant who has effortlessly wrapped the entire household around her chubby little finger.
You might think I’d find this strange or wonder if little Sophia is being spoiled, but all I can tell you is that this is clearly How The World Is Meant To Work. That child had me vying for a spot on that finger before I’d been there for an hour.
For one thing, Miss Sophia is tiny and adorable, of course, with eyelashes approximately a foot long. If you can resist that little face and those lashes, clearly there’s a lump of coal where your heart ought to be. And for another thing, Sophia can do it herself, thanks, whatever “it” is, nearly all the time. But the main issue, of course, is that she is a toddler surrounded by Big People who adore her, and she knows it. She knows it is her due, and that we all pretty much exist to make sure she gets what she wants, and to admire her while she does.
So on the one hand, every single morning I was greeted by the slightly-puzzled Sophia expression that I’m pretty sure was meant to convey, “You, AGAIN? You’re STILL HERE?” But on the other hand, it didn’t take long for her to figure out that I was more than happy to be yet another indentured servant to her whims, and that was alright by her.
Other royalty may rule with an iron fist, but Sophia rules with a pinchy hand.
You see, generally all Sophia is going to stop to ask for is food. And while doing so (in an adorable squeaky voice that gave me phantom ovary ache: “Nummy? Nummy? Nummy?”), she holds up a hand and does a pincer grasp to demonstrate that Hey, buddy, you can just put whatever you’re eating right here in my hand, thanks, I’ll take care of it for you, and by “take care of it” I mean “smear it all over my face with relish.” If she wants something to drink—most likely, wants YOUR drink—she does the pinchy hand while similarly chanting “Wawa? Wawa? Wawa?”
[Of course, if you have the misfortune to leave your glass of water sitting at the table unattended, you may just come back to find her standing on your chair and guzzling it, which is also adorable, right up until she sets it down with a larger-than-seems-possible “AHHHH!” from such a small girl, and then dunks her entire forearm into the glass for good measure.
Me: *drying her arm off on a towel* Yep, it’s your water now. I prefer mine with fewer babies in it.]
I thought the pinchy hand was just for food, because that’s all I saw her ask for, the first day or so. But it turns out that if she wants to look at pictures of herself on Kira’s computer? Pinchy hand, along with “Baby? Baby? Baby?” And if she wants her hat? Pinchy hand, and “At! At! At!” Time to nurse? “Noms! Noms! Noms!” Etc.
The pinchy hand is powerful, is my point.
Now, I imagine Kira and her family have been living with the pinchy hand for quite a while. Months, at least. But because I’m a bad influence, by my second day I was following every request with, “I COMMAND YOU BY THE POWER OF THE PINCHY HAND!” and the necessary accompanying hand-pinching gesture with a level of freneticness appropriate to the current situation.
So, if one of the boys was talking (read: tormenting one of his brothers) and was told to be quiet, that’s easily followed with the POWER OF THE PINCHY HAND declaration and a firm and rapid pincer demonstration, say. And of course I only had to do this a couple of times before the boys started doing it, too, which I’m certain Kira just LOVED. They’d ask her for some food or something, and then follow it with, “Come on, I have the POWER OF THE PINCHY HAND!” and the flapping pinch-grip to demonstrate that compliance was mandatory.
When we were out to dinner, eating fondue, just the two of us? We were waiting for the waiter to bring us our wine and I started doing pinchy hand in his direction, but for some reason it didn’t seem to work. I’m pretty sure it very nearly got Kira to hide under the table, though. If she hadn’t been laughing so hard I’m sure she would’ve done it.
The pinchy hand isn’t Sophia’s only power, though. It also turns out—brace yourself—that she has a REALLY BIG MOUTH. I know! Crazy, right? Whenever she wants your attention or has done something she shouldn’t and wants to divert your attention, she just opens up her mouth really big. It gives you an unobstructed view of all six of her teeth, as well as her belief that she truly is all that, a bag of chips, and probably a Snickers bar as well. And the only thing funnier to her than opening her mouth like a cod for your admiration is… if you do it right back to her. And the only thing funnier than THAT is if you preface it with, “Oh, look! I have a really big mouth, TOO!”
(When I open my mouth that big, you can see all of my teeth, as well as the fact that I will do absolutely anything to make a toddler laugh at me.)
What I’m telling you is that in a matter of days I had managed to reduce Kira’s entire household to a cacophony of “I COMMAND YOU WITH THE POWER OF THE PINCHY HAND!” rejoined by “YEAH? WELL, WELL, I HAVE A REALLY BIG MOUTH!”
It caused a standoff that may well have ripped a hole in the very fabric of the space-time continuum, and I’m sorry about that. Sophia isn’t, though. She would like some of your water. And she’s also available to lick the butter off of your toast.