So the little one came straight off the school bus and announced before she got up the front steps good that she's going to try out for the school talent show. Maybe I can do magic! she said excitedly, dancing from one foot to the other as she shoved the flyer in my face. Or I can tell jokes!

Ha' mercy. The kid is only 6, and she's already put herself in the running to be the Chris Rock of the 1st grade.

Um, I'm a little skerd I'm not gonna lie. Here's why: With only six years under her belt, Lila is quite the rabble rouser. Seriously, she's a goofy goober who keeps the Chiles family home jumping with lots of practical jokes, shrill singing, Michael Jackson-worthy dancing, and enough little sister antics to keep her big sister and brother on the run. The girl can even conjure up crocodile tears faster than Angela Bassett on the set of What's Love Got To Do With It, and then, with salt water streaming down her cheeks, give a maniacal giggle to show you she's not really crying.

Nick and I regularly wake up with night sweats just envisioning the kind of teenager Lila might be the one making it hot for anyone and everyone involved. Phone attached to the ear at all times, shooing away little boys, orchestrating a gaggle of girlie hangers-on, brilliant but too fabulous for school work or anything that requires more thought beyond which skirt, lip gloss, and phone number she should use next. I don't know why that boy is outside in the car crying, mommy, I hear her teenage voice whisper to me. I told him it wasn't going to work and he should get the hell on, but he claims he's too distraught to drive. Loser. Anyway, I'm going to the movies with Bobby, k bubkins?”

Heaven help us.

Of course, all of my friends tell me to stop throwing the kid under the bus she's brilliant (she just got accepted into her school's gifted program), funny (she keeps us all in stitches, a trait that could come in handy when she's working a room), friendly (she hasn't met a kid she's not breathlessly best friends with), and, while mischievous, still a good kid when it counts, they insist. I can co-sign all of this. But she could be a mere knock knock joke away from transforming from the smart girl in the class to the popular one less interested in books, consumed by the spotlight.

I guess I'd just be more excited if she came home waving a math competition flyer, or ecstatic about her wanting to get her Akeelah and the Bee on in the school spelling bee, or giddy over her dragging me to the computer to google an experiment or two for a school science fair.

But spotlight is okay, I guess, huh? I mean, it's worked for Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle and Eddie Murphy and them, right? Who's to say her star-turn as the Knock Knock Joke Queen of The First Grade is a bad thing. Maybe, just maybe I should fall back and let Lila be who Lila is no holds barred. Because at the end of the day, in a society where too many girls are too often timid and intimidated and afraid to shine, this is just another sign of my Lila's fearlessness. And for girls in this day and age, fearless shouldn't be considered a bad thing.

No, here, fearless is impressive an honorable thing. Something her mother, at age *whispers the magic number in her cupped hand* is still working on.

Yeah, my baby is fearless.

And hopefully funny enough for the judges at next week's tryouts.

So who's got a kick-booty knock knock joke for my girl?

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  1. Renée aka Mekhismom

    I have no knock knock jokes or jokes of any sort for that matter. I agree – she is fearless, comedy is a tricky art and at a talent show no less? Whatever she chooses to do I am sure she will be great. There is a scenario that you did not lay out for her future: the smart popular girl that gets A’s with ease.

  2. i have to say…love a joker!!! ok, my mom told oneo fthe worst jokes ever last week: how do you get holy water? you boil the *ell out of it.

    yep…that’s all i got. sorry.

  3. mama's got moxie

    oh, the fearless ones!! gotta love it. i’m sure she’ll do a wonderful job.

    back when i was in elementary school a few of my girlfriends did a dance routine to (hold on to your seats…) “nasty girl” by vanity 6 in a talent show. i’m pretty sure they all turned out fine. and don’t ask what the teachers were thinking by letting that song play, it was the early 80s, obviously no one was really checkin’ for lyrics.

  4. –What did the cool cat say to the house when it fell on him?
    –“Get off me homes!”
    Not a knock knock, but it’s all I got. As an adult, I’m longing to be as fearless as I was as a child. Kudos to you for letting your daughter spread her wings and fly!

  5. the prisoner's wife

    LOL…be thankful she’s well-rounded.

    (ps. sent you an essay, did you get it?).


  6. Your description of her reminds me of our third child ~ a vivacious, happy-go-lucky, full-of-fun boy. We often worried that he would turn into a class clown, but his teacher assures us that he is doing very well academically. He’s one smart cookie…just a hysterically funny one as well!

  7. First off – I absolutely LOVE your blog design! Wow! WAY cool! 🙂

    Second – I think Lila and The Girl could be twins! They are so similar in so many ways (and I have the same nighmares!). She sounds wonderful and I’m sure she’ll do well at that talent show.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  8. Just stopping by from SITS to say hi. I love your posts so far. I am subscribing as we speak.

  9. Girl, let little Lila do her “Thang”

  10. It’s so hard to just let them be who they are sometimes. I fear that my kids will be social and popular and won’t study, but I also fear they will be shy and suffer through school feeling inferior.

    I hope she has them all on the floor laughing!

  11. Mama Denene,

    Lila’s got it all figured out already! She is WAY beyond her years. Already knows that laughter is the best medicine! She’ll be a fabulous doctor one day!

    Ok. Here are a couple Kiswahili riddles for Lila, translated into English 🙂

    1. I get wet when I am drying. What am I?

    (a towel – TAULO in Kiswahili)

    2. I go around the house, I go into the house, but I never touch the house. What am I?

    (the sun – JUA in Kiswahili)

    Hugs and Good luck to our fearless daughter!

    Atashinda (she’ll win)

    Mama Shujaa

  12. Sounds like you have a star on your hands =). I never stop admiring the ability to be fearless and to see it spring up in the young is a beautiful thing. I too have a little fearless one. It can be scary at times, but I think if guided in the right direction is one of the best characteristics EVER!

    I’m rooting for her to take the cake at the show =)

  13. Jennae @ Green Your Decor

    Your Lila is fearless, and I’m glad she has the courage to get up there and show her stuff. I will be of no help since I’m about as funny as a heart attack, but I’m sure she’ll knock their socks off. So…can you bottle up some of that fearlessness and pass it around? I need a little bit myself 🙂 Actually, make that a lot.

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