I walked into the house the other day after work to find my daughter simultaneously (a) microwaving a pile of dimes and (b) painting several empty plastic containers - with nail polish - on my kitchen countertop (and no newspaper beneath them, of course).
Can blood pressure be measured on the Richter Scale? Because I think mine might have registered as far away as Chile.
After reminding her (and the babysitter - what was she thinking?) that we do not microwave metal or paint without a dropcloth - nevermind using Mom's favorite nail polish color - and opening all the windows to chase the smell of burning metal from my kitchen, I tried to get to the bottom of this latest debacle.
"Why in God's name would you microwave dimes, Anna?" I asked.
"That magician does it. I forget his name."
"And what happens when he does?"
"I don't know."
I stood with my mouth agape at the sheer ridiculousness of this idea, which led to some intense conversation and the viewing of a couple of Youtube videos detailing the idiocy of this project. I then reminded her again that we don't paint anything without a newspaper or the old plastic tablecloth under us. Ever. That is why we have the old, plastic tablecloth, after all.
I love the urchin, but she tests me. Oh, how she tests me.
I once sported a black eye for a week when she stealth-ninja'd into my bedroom in the middle of the night, placed her face nose-to-nose with mine and whispered "Mom!" This caused me to shoot off the bed, grab my chest with one arm and flail with the other as I fell back down, sliding sideways until my face hit the edge of the nightstand.
All this, to find out that she farted and it smelled like spaghetti.
And let's not forget the time she invited a friend to sleep over, changed it to "maybe two" instead of one, and then walked through the door with five girls behind her later that evening, all bearing sleeping bags.
Or the time she greased the floor of the shower with baby oil because she wanted to slide around on her naked butt after her shower the night before. I went to work the next morning with a sore knee from where I took out the sliding shower door.
I have to admit, I indulge her wild ways, to a degree. It secretly thrilled me when she was six and some of her girlfriends wanted to play dress-up, style their hair and walk imaginary runways while she was calmly packing a backpack with books, a ball of rubber bands, two stuffed animals, silly putty and a pair of tweezers to go on "an adventure".
The truth is, she's the daughter I've always wanted. Fierce and imaginative and funny and unafraid.
And I wish for her a daughter who's just like she is someday. That thought keeps the smile on my face while I chip away at the nail polish on the counter.