Editorial by Samuel Wakefield
Recently, my three year old daughter London has taken to calling herself, the wild child. Based on her behavior, she seems to have fully embraced this new nickname. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the nickname at first. In fact, I was kind of annoyed with it. I mean, really, why wild child? It turns out, that the nickname came from her sisters while we were recently visiting friends in Nashville. Apparently she was behaving so unpredictably and taking too many risks that they started calling her the wild child. Even more jaw dropping, she liked it! We had a conversation shortly after she started calling herself the wild child where I probably should have asked her, what does she thinks it means to be wild? Instead I told her what I thought it meant to be wild and basically directed her not to call herself that again. Problem solved, right?
Maybe not. Perhaps there’s something I was missing in all of this. Of all our four girls, she is the one most likely to sacrifice her body in the name of stunts and acrobatics. In fact, we had her in gymnastics for a while but she couldn’t quite follow the rules (I wonder where she gets that from…). This fall we’re enrolling her in karate, hoping that perhaps it’ll teach her some discipline in harnessing all this excess energy, because that’s really all it is: energy that needs to be directed into something productive. She’s also our most outgoing child in general. She’s definitely the most comfortable of our children in front of a camera or on stage performing. All she has to do is flash that broad smile and well…it’s over man.
Maybe this is her way of forming her own identity. As a middle child, she does kind of have it tough when it comes to finding her place in our household, especially since for about three years being the baby was actually her identity. Now she’s not the baby anymore. Yet, she’s not like Riley, our firstborn who is the type A, responsible, fiercely independent quiet child if there ever was one. She’s not like Olivia, our second born who basically is the mirror opposite of Riles, vocal, opinionated, and clingy (well, she is a vocal threenager!). Actually, these two butt heads the most, probably because they’re stuck in the middle together. Amusingly, Samantha and I call them both the middles when they start going at it.
In addition to her monicker the wild child (which I might acquiesce now after more thought), London has also adopted a song as her theme (because of course right?). It’s from the movie Spiderman, Into the Spider-Verse (amazing by the way!) and it’s called, What’s Up Danger. I usually hear her singing it right before she does something like jump off the back of the couch. Finally, last night I heard the lyrics while we were out at movie night under the stars. Turns out, I liked what I heard. So we played the song on loop on our way home. Here are some of my favorite lyrics:
If I’m crazy, I’m on my own
If I’m waitin’, it’s on my throne
If I sound lazy, just ignore my tone
‘Cause I’m always gonna answer when you call my phone
Like, what’s up, danger?
You can’t help but feel pumped up listening to this song (or watching the movie) and seeing someone discover their inner hero. I love it when my girls demonstrate courage, and they each do it in their own ways. Perhaps being outgoing, and sometimes taking what I might deem are unnecessary risks could be London’s way of expressing courage. As long as we help her anchor her wild side in strong, clear values, she’ll be prepared to take on anything. We already know she has the guts. As London now says, like what’s up danger?
This editorial originally appeared at EverydayFatherhood.com.