I remember the moment, as a kid, when I first told my Mom that I was jealous of my younger brother. I was probably about eight years old, and we were sitting in the front seat of the car. She told me that she was so proud that I could talk about my emotions, and I remember feeling that pride reflected in myself. It is one of the weirdly pivotal moments in the development of my identity as a man who reckons with his feelings. Accordingly, I was very proud of our kid when she walked up to me this morning, crossed her arms in front of her body, and declared, “I am feeling very angry.” Whatever it was I’d denied her just moments before (see also: “I Don’t Like Limits. Don’t Limit Me”), she’d decided not to Hulk out on good old Dad, choosing instead to point out that I had a chance to turn this one around. I got down on her level, explained that being angry was normal and that I was proud she could talk about it, then asked what was making her angry. She scowled intently for a few moments. “There’s probably sand in my ears,” she replied, then picked up a balloon and bopped it across the room. I’m very proud of my sandy-eared rage child.
On our way back from the beach yesterday (which explains Kina’s sandy ears), she asked for a scoop of strawberry ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. This, of course, elicited no protest from us, and we headed off into Rockaway to the local ice cream shop. Just two minutes into the drive, however, she announced she would be taking a nap in preparation for her ice cream, falling immediately into a slumber so deep that not even a loud announcement of our arrival at the scoop shop could rouse her. I bought her the ice cream anyway, in case she woke up—which she didn’t—then ate it (reluctantly) myself. We got home forty-five minutes later, and the very first thing she asked when she opened her eyes was, “Where’s the ice cream?” This, in hindsight, is probably why she was angry at me this morning.
I think I’ve decided that the enemy of head-on portraits is the human nose. A while back, I drew a Tintin-themed A1 and drew Kina’s portrait accordingly. It’s always been one of my favorite Kina portraits, and I think it’s because the nose isn’t grotesque. If I take up this angle more frequently, it will be 100% button noses all day—I have no idea how professional cartoonists deal with this. I’ll point out, by the way, that the portrait was intended to just be “cute angry”, but then she walked up to me, stared at the portrait, and said “Do my eyes pink” (which means red, in Kina’s taxonomy of marker colors). I averred that it looked cute as it was, and she looked me dead in the eyes and said “Do. My. Eyes. Pink.” So, a perfect representation.