“Mommy,” Fiona asks from the back seat, “When will I grow more?”
I smile at her in the rearview mirror, “You’re getting bigger every day.”
“No!” She yells, “When will I get more. I don’t have enough!”
“Enough what?” I ask, feeling understandably bewildered.
“I need more.” She says, pointing to her face.
I can feel myself start to grow nervous. I’d rather not deal with a tantrum while we’re in the car, especially for reasons that I can’t fathom. I try to keep my tone light, without the frustration I feel, “Baby, I’m trying to understand, but I’m not sure what you mean. Do you mean more hair, more eyelashes, more what?”
“More eyelids.” She says with obvious frustration at my obliviousness and a healthy dose of what I think of as teenage attitude.
“Uh,” I stall, “You, uh, have two. Isn’t that enough?”
“No, Mommy,” She says with exaggerated patience, “I need two.”
I feel slightly as though we’re having two different conversations. I laugh a little, “You do have two, Sweetheart. You have one for each eye.”
“But I need more.” She says.
“Why?” I ask. I honestly want to know why she things she needs extra eyelids. I just can’t even fathom this one.
She stares at me as though I must be trying to irritate her, “Because, Mom, it’s not right!”
“One eyelid on each eye isn’t right?” To my own ears I sound bewildered. I feel a little off-balance.
Again with the teenage attitude she replies, “No, Mom.”
“Okay,” I say, fighting the riptide of crazy I’ve found myself thrust into, “What would be the correct number of eyelids?”
“Two!” She says emphatically.
“Two on each eye?” I ask, wanting to be sure that I understand.
“Yes.” Her relief at my understanding is palpable.
“Oh.” I say.
I’m not sure what to say to that statement, or to her desire to grow extra eyelids. I picture my beautiful daughter with a cats nictitating membranes (their second eyelid) and it creeps me out. So, I sit patiently for a moment while I try to gather my bearings.
“When?” She asks again.
I struggle to follow, “When what, Baby?”
“When will I grow more eyelids?” She screams from the backseat. Her patience with clearly lacking listening skills at an end.
I reel for a moment. “Um,” I hesitate, “You won’t.”
“I won’t?” She is incredulous, as though I’ve told her that she will never grow up.
I wait. I don’t want to jump in and reassure her if she can adapt to this bafflingly unexpected information.
“But why not?” She asks, sounding deeply offended.
“Well, uh, because, uh,” I stutter, “Uh, humans only have one eyelid per eye. And you’re a human.”
“Are you sure?” She demands.
“Yes.” I answer emphatically. Both are utterly, unequivocably true.
“No.” She says, “I’m not human. I’m a Fiona.”
I laugh, “Yes, you’re Fiona, but you’re also a human. It’s like being a dog or a cat, only you’re a human.”
“Oh.” She says.
There is a long pause, and I try to catch my breath while she digests this new information.
“It’s all wrong.” She says with disgust.
“Yeah?” I sympathise.
“Yeah.” She sounds annoyed. “We should have more eyelids. Even if we’re human. We should have four.”
“Ah.” I say.
And we got home and blissfully exited the car and were distracted by life and toys and all the myriad of things that make it possible to live with the fact that we have the wrong number of eyelids. So, I leave you today with this simple question: Do you have the correct number of eyelids?