Imagination of daughter never ceases to amaze

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 5, 2015

Right after my daughter was born, probably half a dozen or so people came up to me and provided lots of sage advice and wise warnings.

“Please take time to enjoy the early years because she’ll literally grow up before your eyes.”

“Spend as much time as you can with them because you blink and they’re leaving the house.”

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Such wisdom, borne of first-hand experience, is rarely incorrect.

The advice certainly hit the bulls-eye on many levels.

In the nearly two and one-half years since the little bundle of joyfully squirming flesh bounced into my life, it’s been an amazing rollercoaster of love, fun and discovery for all of us — from my wife Julie and I to Anna and down to the dogs.

People warned us about how much love you’d suddenly have for a little creature that seemingly bursts onto the scene, steals your heart and, in many ways, your life.

We were warned that while the first couple of weeks of little to no sleep would be tough, survival was almost a certainty and things would improve.

They were correct on each and every one of these points, but we somehow missed the one about how quickly your little girl can transform herself.

A week or so ago it happened.

The morning started off pretty much as most do with me waking up a groggy Anna.

Usually, I’m greeted with a couple of different early morning salutations including:

“No, Daddy!”

“The light is too bright; dim it!”

“I need, Momma.”

I’ve quickly learned fast replies or reactions to each of these. But I was thrown for a loop.

I came into her room, turned on the lights, and began talking to her, trying to rouse her.

Suddenly, she rolled over; her eyes popped open, and she exclaimed with great delight, “I’m a Chihuahua, Daddy!”

My beautiful little girl had suddenly become a diminutive, yappy dog of Mexican descent.

A lack of coffee in my bloodstream at that point meant I was stunned momentarily as my brain tried to process.

When the synapses finally fired, I said, “Yes you are. Did you sleep OK Miss Chihuahua?

“Do you want to get rubbed behind the ears?”

That character went on for at least a few minutes that morning.

I never thought I’d be standing in a dim room changing the diaper on my daughter, the pretend Chihuahua, but you do what you have to do to keep things moving in the morning.

Life is very much a theatrical play for Anna at the moment.

The emotions that come with being 2 years old likely make the play more of an opera than the run-of-the-mill Broadway play.

At any given time, in her tiny brain, all of us need to take on a new character, usually something or someone she knows or has come in contact with in recent days.

Just this past week alone I’ve played microscopically short parts in which I was Mom, Suzy (our dog), Alice (our other dog), a baby, Mimi, Pop, Grandpa, Grandma, Mrs. Audley, Daisy (Mrs. Audley’s dog), Mr. Ben, Pop’s hat, Daniel Tiger, the grocery store clerk, the librarian and the list goes on and on.

Her imagination never ceases to amaze me at the moment. But in all of the things she does, the characters she lives out as she plays, one of the things I admire the most about her at the moment is her tender heart — if she hears me say I have a headache or that something hurts, she’ll often say, “I’m worried about you, Daddy.”

That will just melt your heart.

It places second, only to the sheer joy she finds in the most seemingly mundane — at least to adults — things. A greeting after a day at work is like a soldier’s homecoming after being away at war for years. A can of shaving cream is the coolest thing ever, and a blueberry muffin is the best thing God ever created to a tiny little Chihuahua standing in our kitchen.

I hope you and yours had a great Fourth of July.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or