Neela is Great

Neela is my last daughter and Neela is great. 
One of her sisters showed us a video of her attempting to sing Twinkle Twinkle when she was tiny and it was so cute you’d push a lab puppy trying to lick you out of the way to see it again. 
THAT’S how cute it was. 
Neela is a precious bundle of awe and wonder that enters every room with a twinkle in her eye and a spring in her step. 
She’s soft and tender and laughs a lot. She already told me she’s got “most of” my bday present weeks ahead of time because she’s thoughtful and sweet and doesn’t want me to worry.  
I think adults need to be more like Neela, heck I think kids need to be more like her. Some people spend their whole lives trying to figure everything out, Neela spends her life being amazed!!! If I had to pick one, there’s a clear winner. 
Neela has been addicted to coffee since she was like four. 
She watched dad drink coffee with great satisfaction every morning and decided she wanted in. She asked me and I said “You’re too little for coffee” so she smiled, waited until I was gone and approached Erin…
“Mom can I have coffee?” With a big grin. 
“No sweetie, you’re too little”
Neela tilts her head slightly to the side as if she didn’t quite hear right: “Mom, can I have coffee?” With an even bigger smile. “Mom, I’d like some coffee:) Can I have some? Can I have coffee? I would like some coffee now”
Now Erin is a great mom, but we parent a little differently. When I say something it becomes almost a matter of honour or discipline or some other man thing in my head that just needs to BE. As a dad I have a pretty low tolerance for noise and particularly noise I deem unnecessary. If it goes on too long I tend to get angry so I’ve learned to stop it before I have to cross that bridge. 
Meaning, if I say something to the girls I expect it to be done. You’ll get a warning and then something will happen. I’m not saying it’s the only way to be a dad, but it seems to work for me. Every child we added to the family my noise tolerance managed to get worse until I would just put earbuds in and listen to loud Radiohead in the car to avoid driving off the road to stop the hollering from the back. 
Neela’s bid in the coffee-tasting war was to kill mom with respectful and cheerful requests for coffee dozens of times in a mornings. She’d decided coffee was a good thing for her because dad likes it and perhaps mom wasn’t thinking straight yet. She didn’t get angry or sullen, she’d just ask until Erin exploded “NO!!!!”, then she’d go downstairs a bit, come up when she was bored, notice the coffee cup and, because she honestly can’t remember she’d already asked a million times ask once more sweetly,
“Mom, can I have coffee?” With a big grin. 
Now if you have less than four kids you’re probably very proud about keeping your kids on a “schedule” for dinner and nap times and school. When you have more kids than parents it’s called zone defence, and when nobody’s name is in a box for accountability because there are too many boxes, you tend to get scored on more. I used to work a lot so Erin was trying to defend the net from four shooters and just ran out of energy with Neela. 
The best day of Neela’s life Erin finally said “Fine! Drink coffee!”
Everybody knows that coffee tastes terrible, but Neela’s siege had lasted so long that it tasted like Victory. 
She’s been drinking victory ever since. Erin had a friend with kids of a similar age and she said “I’m afraid of Neela” (which is hilarious because Neela is so sweet, but) “When she looks at me I know she’ll find a way to get what she wants because she’s smarter than me, and she’ll do it in the nicest possible way”.
When I used to say “Starbucks!” on road trips Neela’s face would light up from the car seat in back “Can I have some??” With a big grin. 
“Come on” I’d say. 
We’d go in and I’d order my Americano. Then they’d ask Neela “What do you want sweetheart?”
“Coffee please”
“You mean hot chocolate?” They’d say. 
Confused because she was pretty sure they looked old enough to understand what English words meant, she’d tilt her head to the side quizzically and say slowly “NO, COFFEEEEEE” as if they ought to know that they work at a coffeeshop. 
I’d whisper “Just pour a bit of mine in a tiny cup” 
They’d cast a judgy look my way only parentless single people can conjure and I’d say:
“She’s our fourth girl, she’s cute, and we ran out of energy” with a big grin. 

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