I’m not a kid person. I really only like my own kids, and not even all of the time. 

In a moment of what I can only describe as deranged insanity, I signed up to help in the toddler room at church because my youngest, Maddy, was in the room. About ten minutes in I realized this was not my gifting. God bless the people who have this talent because it just ain’t me. It was four years ago and I’m still scarred. Every time I pass the room I wince.

Some of my friends lament the fact that their babies are growing up and all I can think is Thank the Lord I don’t have to potty train anyone else, ever. Terrible twos? No way. Terrible threes was where it was at. I didn’t raise the boys until they were 14 and 11.5, so I can’t accurately describe what it was like to have boy toddlers or have to teach them to “shoot the cheerio”. 
I can say, without hesitation, my kids are way more fun the older they get. I’ve enjoyed them at each stage, but the next stage has always been better than the last. 
That said, the girls are 10 and 8, so we haven’t gotten to the teenage years yet. Without fail all of my friends without girls swear to the fact that boys are easier during the teenage years. Maybe it’s just the friends with boys who say this and the ones with teenage girls are too busy mediating hormones and explaining tampons that they have no time to chime in. 
But I digress. 
Ever heard the saying that babies are either a Terrier or a St. Bernard? I had one of each. The St. Bernard came first and the Terrier second. If you are following so far you’ll know that Maddy is the Terrier. She embraces her inner Terrier and revels in the parental chaos is causes. She’s not a bad kid. On the contrary, she’s intense, deep and thoughtful. She’s challenging, intelligent and funny. She’s sure of herself, very real and direct. She’s extremely clean and organized, which makes the other children look like a pack of dirty miscreants. 
One of her Christmas presents was a whiteboard. 
This is what she did with it on Christmas afternoon. 
“Maddy’s In & Out Schedule”
I love these things about her. She’s fascinating. Her favorite thing is to drop a heavy question at bedtime; one that you can’t ignore for fear of being labeled as that parent who never answered the hard questions. That parent who brushed off difficult subjects in order to keep to the bedtime schedule. 
These are just a sampling of her best queries to date. Obviously, Kindergarten was a productive year.
The body questions from kindergarten
Q: What is skin made of?
Q: What are toenails for?
Q: What is your tongue made of?
Q: Why do we need toes?
Q: Why do we need eyelashes, eyebrows and freckles?
The science questions from kindergarten
Q: What’s dirt made of?
Q: What’s electricity made of?
Q: (During a thunderstorm) If electricity comes from lightning and lightning is scary, why isn’t the electricity in my nightlight scary too? 
The God questions from first grade
Q: Why do people call our freckles Angel Kisses? Angels don’t kiss, right? That’s gross. 
Q: Does God have a wife? 
Follow up Q: If not, why not?
Follow up Q: He has a son, so where’s his wife? 
Follow up Q: Why not a daughter?
The relationship questions from second grade
Q: Mom, why are all the boy songs about girls?
Q: Mom, how do you know how to kiss with tongues?
Q: Mom, how do you know when a boy likes you?
Q: What’s flirting (tonight’s question)
How would you answer? Leave me a comment.
She will enthusiastically wave at you from among hundreds of classmates without even a whiff of embarrassment, but is wary of hugging at morning drop off in front of her friends. 

This is her expression and accompanying internal conversation with herself. Ummm, what is it? I don’t want to be rude but it’s a big heavy box and I don’t know if the present is the box or it’s a fake box because we use fake boxes all the time so this may be a fake one…  Note: it was the Bible on CD from Nana and Grandpa.

This conundrum is not limited to questions. For example:

In response to passing a 20-foot tall snowman on the side of the road at a car dealership:
Mom, that’s a gigantimedium snowman

In reaction to having to run the household when both Mom and Dad were down with the flu:
Mommy, if you are sick I’ll always take care of you and make you tea. Not hot tea but unsweetened black iced tea from Mugby. 
In reply to my asking if she stayed with her sister on the playground at the park around the corner:
I stuck to her like a sunburn on a hillbilly.
What? I can’t even make this stuff up, it’s so good. 
My final category involves her reactions. 
Reaction to the”special yogurt” mom let her have in a moment of distraction during morning rush:
Maddy: Mom, this yogurt is great! We should always get it.
Mom: That’s because it’s cream cheese, dear. 
Reaction to seeing a priest at the grocery store:
(rather loudly) Mom, is he Amish?
I have to preface this next reaction with a little background. For the past two years Rick and Maddy have entered the Winona Harley-Davidson Chili Cook-off. The first year it was on a lark and Rick won. Maddy helped dish out the chili and it was on like Donkey Kong for year two. Rick and Maddy were a team and me and Emily were left to fend for ourselves with my lamesauce chorizo chili. They won again! Perhaps because our chili was named something like Minnesota Nice or Frilly Sunshine or some other girly girly Emily-chosen name. 
Their chili was named Shut Up Chili and it was all that and a box of saltines. 
Maddy ate three bowls of it at our aforementioned housewarming chili-feed.
Reaction to my request for her retrieval of a can of beans during the 2013 Chili Cook Off preparation:
(rather matter-of-fact) Mom, Emily is on your team. I’m on Dad’s team. I can’t get your beans. You’ll have to ask Emily

The Winona Harley-Davidson Chili Cook Off 
winners of 2013 will compete again this year
 at the LaCrosse Harley-Davidson Chili Cook off 
(a much larger venue). Stay tuned as I’m sure it will 
be fodder for another blog post.

The Winona Harley-Davidson Chili 
Cook Off losers. 

Sticking with the Harley theme, I’ll leave you with her last and best reaction. She’s so genuine without a hint of snottiness that you just have to nod, smile and move on. 
Reaction to Me asking her if she’d like to ride on the back of my (new) motorcycle or Daddy’s:
Mom, I don’t ride on small bikes. 
And then she buckled up her helmet and claimed her seat.
Emily’s response to Mommy: It’s ok Mommy, I’ll ride on your bike. 
Pity rider, that one. 
Folks, she’s never ridden on the back of my bike. And I’m sure she never will. 
Maddy’s room rules

Maddy’s note left on my desk. Another note says, “Mom, I like this office.”