My daughters, like most people, have different talents. My youngest, L, can turn cartwheels, hang from jungle gyms, and balance on those one-wheeled rolling sneakers known as Heelys like nobody's business. (Sometimes you're certain she'll crash catastrophically into someone or something, but she'll simply swerve nonchalantly out of the way.) I can't do any of those things, and neither does anyone else in our family.
A few weeks ago, she said "hey, watch this!" to her mom and me. Before we knew it, she was suspended in mid-air in our kitchen doorframe, legs braced against the sides. Zoop, up she'd gone, Spider-Man style.
Her sister, M, has an ear for music. Yes, she can carry a tune—they both take music lessons, but it was M who begged us for them five years ago. Here's her example. A few weeks ago we saw one of those "where are they now?" shows on TV, this one featuring Mike Reno of Loverboy, who lives here in Vancouver. Then, a few days ago, I was at a restaurant with my kids and our friend Paul and his family. M cocked her head and said to me, "Hey, is that that Mike Reno guy singing?" I listened, but could hardly make out any music on the sound system over all the noise of people jamming the restaurant.
Then, sure enough, in a quiet spot, there it was: "Workin' for the Weekend," barely audible but undoubtedly there. She'd heard a little part of it once, it stuck there in her brain, and she filtered it out of the background automatically. How many ten-year-olds can identify a snippet of Loverboy (?!) at 20 paces, and name the singer?
As a boastful dad proud of his daughters' good taste, I also have to tell you that on sick days home from school, L spontaneously gives herself math lessons out of books (her mom is a math teacher). And when M redecorated her room this summer, she insisted on covering the walls with Beatles posters (wonder where she got that?).