By Diane Ako
Parenting, as you know, is so totally subjective. Everyone thinks their child is the best, smartest, funniest, most talented, etc, in the world. ...Well, Claus and I know Olivia's not a prodigy, but we do rank her #1 in many superlative categories.
From the start, every little artistic creation she has brought home from school meets with a shower of compliments. We love that she made it with her own two little hands, and that she gives it to us with all of her heart. She's the sweetest.
The other day, she brought home a glazed ceramic the art class had been working on for a few weeks. They molded the clay, designed their sculptures, painted it, and then brought it home after it was fired in the kiln.
"Here, Mommy," she said as she nonchalantly plopped a rat-unicorn hybrid ("a raticorn" I was informed) on the counter. She's eight now, so sometimes it's not such a big deal to give your parents gifts.
I turned around to receive it. "Oh! That's nice, Dear! What is it?"
She said what it was, which I think is weird- but I rationalized it within seconds that it's just her brilliant expression of creativity. It's actually odd looking but if Olivia made it, I love it.
And then she said she didn't make it! "It came from one of the other girls in class. She didn't want it. She gave it to me."
Duh, she didn't want it. It's ugly.
"Oh. Where is yours?" I asked. "You should give this back to that girl. Her parents probably want it."
"Mine's in the art show," Olivia explained. "And I like this. She gave it to me, she doesn't want it back, and I'm going to keep it. Let's put it here on the counter."
"Actually, no. Put it in your room if you insist on having it. A rat with a horn is kind of scary," I admitted.
Olivia stopped to put it together. "So... why'd you say you liked it when you thought it was mine?"
"Because it's special when it comes from you. You're my kid," I explained.
Later, Claus and I compared notes and apparently, he had a very similar conversation with her about the raticorn.
Funny, isn't it, that within seconds one's whole perspective on something can change based on a little piece of knowledge? It's still the same sculpture!
By the way, I lost that fight. Somehow the dang uni-mouse found its way to my bedroom nightstand where Olivia likes to play with it before she tucks me in.