Na-Nanny Boo-Boo

Where oh where does bad behavior come from?
Photo credits: Sofia, with a wickedly wacky wig
April 11, 2024

Dear Parents, Dear Non-parents. I think you should know. The sweet, winsome, delightful babe I once knew as my daughter Sofia has been taken hostage. The kidnapper is her 4-year-old self, whom I much prefer to call Snaffalufagus, Snoofledorf or Sofinozzles (names infinitely more fitting now). She still looks like Sofia, is still cute as anything by appearance, but her character has morphed into a sassy, snappy, snarky, sulky, stubbornly, and surly being by nature, and reeks of misbehavior by adult standards.

Despite my momentary frustration and losses of will to reason and rectify this startling change, I’ve now become strangely intrigued with this being that’s kidnapped my sweet innocent Sofia and the idea of what it all means.
This Snaffle-Snozzle Snoofledorf residing in our home is outrightly jealous for example (of Babs, Shih Tzu and recipient to my kisses and cuddles). She is also selfish, insatiable, entitled, capricious, obnoxious, whiny, unreasonable, unfair, disorderly, cranky, naggy, moody, rude, and obsessive-compulsive. She has no qualms about tattling, mocking, defying, farting, burping, making an utter mess and nuisance of herself, and laughing viciously in my face when I’m distraught over something she’s done (like leaving her version of a Jackson Pollock in bright lip gloss over the marble bathroom counter).

Typically, bad parenting is the culprit of all such bad behavior, which, let me tell you, is an insult. I see no reason to attribute any of Sofizzles’ behavior to bad parenting on Javi or I. And so, I analyze.

Are all siblings the same? Do they all exhibit the same good or bad behavior? If nurture presides over nature, then given siblings having the exact same upbringing, what would explain how different they are?!?! Siblings are a perfect example of nature winning supremely over nurture, as clearly you will often find opposites or close to opposites between siblings. Yes, the number of years the siblings are apart and who is oldest versus who is youngest do of course make an impact, BUT…

Well-intentioned Moms, Dads, Ladies and Gents, in view of the controversy of “nature versus nurture,” I—surrendered witness to this kidnapping—wish to emphasize what is plain to see:

If children young enough to have not yet been marred by the disappointments and turmoils of life (such as 4-year-old Sofia), IF these INNOCENT young children exhibit all such misbehaviors without a conscience, then we can reason all these behaviors are completely natural and NOT (at least in this case) a consequence of nurture. And if we deem this true, then might we want to cut our adult selves some slack when we too misbehave? These naughty-by-nature creatures are moody because they’re moody, not because they have droopy skin or a bad day at work.

But I continue to wonder, to what extent are these things learned and to what extent are they innate? Do we all come into the world with all these traits and un-learn them as we grow up in society? With these rascal children, are we perhaps unconsciously reinforcing certain traits through our parenting? Or are they just trying out behavior and testing our reactions?

Sometimes as parents we’re not at our best. But instead of listing the why’s we might act “bad,” we might sometimes just as well accept “our bad” as our 4-year-old selves temporarily taking hostage of our socially-acceptable adult selves.
So when the sweet n’ smiley, diligent dutiful n’ polite Me has been overly pressurized, when it feels so right to leave correctness in reckless abandonment even for just a fleeting moment… when kidnapper Me comes out to smirk and snark in wicked glee, and relish a full deployment of grouchy gloomy and ghastly SHE… I can rest assured, it’s HUMAN. And I call her NITROLL (my childhood nickname as a rascal).

So there, Na-Nanny Boo-Boo!!😜😝😈


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