Monday, July 30, 2007

My new Affiliation

I have proudly joined a new club. Why? Because I am so taken with this last Harry Potter book. Loved it. Was talking to Michael about it and he told me I was such a he's not! So, in the spirit of the book, I proclaim myself a DDNGer.

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My middle diva Maggie is the founder of this little club that she calls "The DDNGers." She and a few friends found solace in this group beginning in 3rd or 4th grade. I first heard about it one morning at the bus stop when I asked about a sweet boy that she was talking to. She told me his name was Dustin and he was a DDNGer.

"Deedee-enjee-er?" I asked

"Yeah, my club."

Long pause..."Well, what is that, Miss Mags?"

She gave me that twisted smile, twinkly-eyed look and said, "Dorks, Dweebs, Nerds & Geeks!"

"You call YOURSELVES that?!"

"Yep..." and the bus drove up. She and her buddy happily waved at me and left.

I was stunned...and once again thoroughly amused. What is it they say? If you want to take power out of a word, own it. How did she learn that at age 9?

My Maggie is a very interesting little person. She was a good size when she was born, 8 lbs 5 oz., but that was the last time she was "big." She was always teeny-tiny. At her 1 year doctor's check-up, she was the size of a normal 9 month-old...maybe. The doc took many measurements, talked to her (more on that in a moment) and declared her amazing and tho' small, perfectly proportioned.

When she went to kindergarten, she was wearing 3T's. She did not graduate to wearing 5T's (which can be smaller than just 5's) until she was in 2nd grade! And even then, they were always too long by several inches!

She had blond curly hair, big blue eyes, big ears, and a gaze that put Medusa to shame. This child also made funny faces, constantly. She could not help it. And it irked her beyond reason when folks exclaimed over how tiny and cute she was.

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As a non-walking baby, we called her Buddha-baby because you could put her anywhere and she would just sit there, not moving, watching all of the activity around her very seriously. I can still see her...plopped on the floor amidst her toys, just quietly observing us all. When she was able to crawl, she would take herself off to be in private areas to play alone, especially at noisy family gatherings. I thought I had a silent recluse on my hands.

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And then, at 9 months, looking like she might be six months old, she stood up and RAN. No careful, slow walking, no contemplative strolls through her world. Instead, she revved up her little legs and ran into a wall for the first of the many scary forehead eggs, multi-hued bruises, split lips, and scars containing stitches to come!

On her 4th birthday when I was 4 months pregnant with Meave, she RAN to shut the front door, tripped over the landing stair, and split her forehead wide open! Off to the doctor we ran. When Mags saw that needle coming, that tiny thing went ballistic. We had to wrap her in a papoose, and Michael and I BOTH had to lay on her while a nurse held her head so the doc could sew her poor head back together. Her screams were SO awful.

But true to form, the second it was over and she was in Michael's arms, she literally said, "Well, that was fun!" with a big smile!!!! I am not making this up! At that moment, I tried to pass out from the stress of it and while I was laying on the table she had just been on with nurses fussing over my pregnant self, she asked Michael to show her the instruments and needles that the doc had just finished using...all the laughter was tinged with wondering how Morticia Addam's daughter ended up in our care.

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My beautiful daughter can point to every scar on her face and head...with pride. There have been many stitches, but thankfully no broken bones. Knock on wood.
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Now to the talking which she began early also. Her Buddha-like silence gave way to constant volubility and lots of laughter. Her speech was not always clear, but the sentence patterns and word use were way, way beyond her years. Many, many times a person walking by would stop dead in their tracks after hearing what they assumed was a tiny baby lecture me on the merits of giving her what she wanted. One very old woman once engaged Maggie in conversation (she thankfully diverted Maggie's attention from a toy), and when she was done she turned to me and told me I had a delightful child...who would turn my hair white while I was still very young!

When Mags was 18 months old, she got mad at me because I would not turn around on the freeway to go get her sippy cup, so she fired me.

"Fine, when Grandma gets here, you're fired!"

Can you imagined how I wanted to laugh? But very early on, we all learned in this family that laughing at Maggie was a dangerous activity. It always backfired on you because she was never amused by your amusement. It has only been in the last couple of years that Maggie has begun to understand that she is funny, that we are not laughing AT her. Her perceptions of this world are truly unique.

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Back to the DDNGers...the creation of this group is an example of Maggie's propensity for standing up for the under-dogs. And this is very interesting. Because of Maggie's particular take on the world, her bizarre sense of humor and her BIG mouth, she herself would be considered one of the weird kids, one of the under-dogs. She does not care and is actually compelled to act as champion for many of these kids who become her friends. She once became so incensed by what she perceived as a terrible injustice perpetrated upon her friend Dustin, that she yelled at her teacher, a playground aide, and went straight to the bully's mother and told her what a jerk and a liar her son was!!!! And she relayed the whole thing to me HERSELF!!! She was so mad that she was jumping and hopping and gesturing wildly as she told me the story. I had to bite my lips to remain serious. I fully expected to get a phone call from the school about her, but I did not. Seems all concerned were taken by her sense of honor if not her big mouth.

And the DDNGers are part of this compassion she has for those who know pain. She tries to make it funny and ironic without knowing that is what she is doing. And although as she gets older she is less likely to proclaim her allegiance to this group as loudly as she once did, my kid truly does embrace her inner nerd. And I so love her for it.

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Long live DDNGers!

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