Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dear My Lover, Do You Believe in Nature or Nurture?

Many a parent has thought about the Nature vs. Nurture debate when looking at their own children.

The nature versus nurture debate concerns the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature," i.e. nativism, or innatism) versus personal experiences ("nurture," i.e. empiricism orbehaviorism) in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits. (Wikipedia)

I'd like to think of myself as a loving, devoted parent who has worked hard to nurture her children from day 1. With a couple of my kids, I'd say you can see my nurturing influence.

Paloma is not one of these children.

This child falls fast and hard on the "Nature" side of the debate. Paloma is very much a Chamorrita (according to the Mister)-- she's loud, fierce, potty-mouthed, bossy, and when it suits her higher purpose, sneaky.

Mess with bull, you'll get the horns.
Which come in the form of an unblinking, stare-down pout.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Mister's parents have been (but no longer are) living in Japan, for work purposes.

In Japan, clothing is inexpensive. So at the beginning of 2011, my very generous in-laws sent a HUGE box of new clothing and shoes for the children. And in the huge box were numerous vacuum packed bags of clothing, so when the we broke the vacuum seal, our kitchen looked like the inside of a Japanese clothing store.

Maybe. Truthfully, I have no idea what a store looks like in Japan. But my kitchen contained more clothing than any closet in our house at that particular moment in time.

It was pretty cool. We watched the kids go through their bags. Miss Paloma, the baby of the grandchildren, got a massive amount of clothing, so I ended up helping her since she insisted on trying on each item as it came out of the box

Eventually, I got to the last item in Paloma's bag, a sweet little striped dress/shirt. Unfolding it, I realized that there were words on this short.

So I hold it up to better read it.

I pause.
I squint.
I think, maybe I'm reading it incorrectly.

"Uh, Cliff," I say to the Mister. I flip the shirt around so he can see it.

"Does that say. . . ?" he asks.

"Yes, it does," I affirm. "It says: Dear My Lover."

Dear My Lover?!?

"Huh," he says. "Well, you see, in Japan, there's often a certain bastardization of language that occurs when they translate from Japanese into English. . ." he trails off.

Bastardization of language?


I nod. "I get that, but dude, your parents speak English."

We decide to place the shirt in the "to grow into" box.

Side note: "To Grow Into" is a bastardization of the English language that means: "I hid it in my summer clothing tub underneath my bed."

Fast forward to a several weeks ago, when I was beginning preparations for my trip to Orlando. Preparations which included the retrieval of said bin.

So one morning, in the middle of homeschool, Paloma calls to me from upstairs.

Actually, she calls to me from upstairs, but through the laundry chute. Because the laundry chute is across the hallway from her bedroom. And the laundry chute opens up into the top shelf of my kitchen pantry. Which is the liquor shelf. So the #1 rule is: Never put anything in the laundry chute, lest you should break a bottle of Mom's wine. Mess with da Mama's wine, you get the horns. Which come in the form of being removed from the will.

However, Paloma uses it to communicate more effectively with me when she's upstairs and I'm homeschooling in the kitchen.

"Uhh, Mom, I wanna snuggle wit' my Winne-da-Pooh bwankie, but the bwankie has twags on it, and dey are itchy, and dose twags are scwatching me. Can you cut off da twags wit' dissors?"

Winnie the Pooh blanket? With tags? What the heck? The only Winnie the Pooh blanket I knew of was one of Hatfield's baby blankets.

"Paloma, I have no idea what you are talking about," I respond, and go back to homeschool. All seasoned homeschool mothers have perfected the art of ignoring her children.

"But Mom! Dese twags are scwatchy. Cut dem off pwease!"

Thus was the message coming forth from the laundry chute every minute for the next 10 minutes.

Finally, exasperated, I went upstairs to check it out.

True to her word, there was Paloma, holding a perfectly folded Winnie the Pooh blanket.

And sure enough, sticking out of one corner, was a price tag.

A price tag with Japanese writing on it.

That little sh*t found the "Dear My Lover" shirt and folded the shirt up, ever so tiny and carefully. She then proceeded to fold a blanket around the shirt, taking care to stick the tags out in a life-like fashion.

This is all Nature, people!
Not Nurture.
I do not teach my children how to sneak
skanky clothing in with baby blankets!
I. Am. Doomed. With. This. Child.

"Nice try, baby doll," I said, trying not to laugh. I couldn't wait to get on the phone to share that one with the Mister.

Before I could even finish my phone call, Miss Po had conned Atticus into cutting the tags off. She then pleaded with Hatfield to fix her hair like "anime girls."

The result:

"What does my shirt say?" Paloma kept asking all day. "Dear my luvah? What does dat mean?"

"Well, it's like writing a letter to a boyfriend.. . "I'd stumble.

"Maybe I shouldn't wear dis," she reasoned.

I sigh a breath of relief. Okay, so maybe there is some "nature" that goes into play her.

"I'll only wear it to my Hip Hop Dance class." She announced. Because, oh yeah, that's an appropriate venue for it.

No wonder some believe the Nurture argument is bullcwap.

This child certainly supports that notion.

Lord help me.


Nobody said...

This is SOOOO much funnier because I can hear you inside my head.

geralyn said...

Way, way too perfect. It's like you planned this 3weeks ago. ;)

bbbunch said...

I think she should wear that to the homeschool dance :)

Mighty Isis said...

Okay, I've heard this story before, and I STILL can't stop laughing about it!! I agree...send her in THAT to the homeschool dance :). Keep the Po stories coming...LOVE THEM.

Steph, G's Mom said...

OMG I lived in Japan for awhile too, and "English spotting" was almost a form of amusement. No place was sacred from hysterical English phrases....restaurants, shirts, names of beverages (how about "calpis water"? yep, sounds just like you imagine it sounds) even the spare tire cover mounted to the back of an suv. Dear My Lover is a good one. Be happy it didn't say "Sexy Kitty" like one kid's shirt I saw! LOLOL

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Can I borrow that shirt?

Ericka said...

oh my goodness, thank you so much for the laugh!