Ada is very good friends with Lila, the girl down the street. Ada has told us that when they are grown, she and Lila will get married and have babies together. Lila's mom reports that Lila has the same plan.
This close friendship is as I'd hoped, but it is not without its down-sides. Specifically, Ada and Lila are what you might call "naughty" together; they do not attempt to burn down the house or try to suffocate their siblings, but they misbehave together much more than either of them do with other children. Over the past few months, together they have: tried to pee standing up (unsuccessful from the vantage point of getting the urine in the toilet); drawn on each others' arms, bellies and faces; cut Lila's hair; torn apart a very nice book; colored on all manner of things that should not be treated that way (a wall, a stuffed Minnie Mouse, my papers...); tried to poop standing up (again, with decidedly unhappy results for our bathroom floor)... This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.
On Tuesday Ada and Lila were using glitter pens in the kitchen, making art while sitting on the floor. I had given them newspaper to put under their masterpieces, and felt reasonably comfortable sitting in the next room feeding Mira. This was foolish of me, because once merely squirting glitter paint on the paper lost its thrill, the girls decided to drag out the glue and stick some pages together. This might have gone alright, except that they decided that, having used a fair bit of glue, they should protect the floor with a kitchen towel, which of course became saturated with glue and glitter paint. Actually, I am not sure if they were trying to protect the floor, but in any case we are down a dishtowel. At least they had the decency not to ruin one of the new ones, so there's that.
Together Ada and Lila get into trouble. Or rather, they make trouble. It isn't clear to me who is instigating these misdeeds, but it has occurred to me that as Ada is not prone to this kind of behavior on her own or with other friends, she may be following Lila's lead. While I might be glad that she is not coming up with these ideas, I am not especially thrilled with the idea that my daughter is the kind of kid who goes along when someone tells her to do wrong. Okay, she is only four, and maybe it is not fair of me to expect her to use common sense. Maybe common sense is just beyond the capacity of any four year old, no matter how smart and charming the child.
As a parent, I want my child to be able to play independently without making me worry that she'll destroy the house. So far I have been very lucky in that Ada is both fairly willing to follow a limited set of house rules and disinclined to engage in what one might call "wet mess" (she doesn't like to be wet or sticky). As she gets older and more willingly tests the waters of independence, I can not help but feel a little shocked by her small rebellions. She is still great, but I can see parenting getting increasingly harder on this dimension. I want Ada to experiment, to think for herself, to try new things. But I also want her to listen to me and think before she acts. I think she and I both have some maturing to do on this.