While we were in D.C., we had to watch the girls in new ways. The Metro presented all kinds of problems. Escalators. Train tracks. Rush hour. My biggest fear was that one of us would be on the train while the rest of us were on the platform. It didn’t happen.

Commuters were our biggest problem. They run when they hear the trains, and they rush up and down the escalators. I once lived in D.C. and told the girls to stand to the right so that those in a rush could pass us. Fine, right? Nope. Nadia defiantly stood on the left. When I pointed out that she should move to the right, she motioned with her hand that commuters should walk around. Oh, my.

When I spotted Nadia running from the bathroom one day, I knew she was different. She had turned on the bathtub water and took off running and giggling. She was quite proud of herself. There were other signs. She once rapped that she didn’t want to go to preschool. She told her grandfather who had pulled out loose change to share with her that her father also had money. We’ll probably never know, but I think the kid could read before she let us know that she could. I’m sure we’ll have a collection of stories like these by the time Nadia moves out of our house.

That day on the Metro, I pulled Nadia to the right. That solved the problem, but I needed something more permanent. I have a good friend who is rebellious, self-aware, and sassy. “I’m the catch!” she told me after a man hadn’t treated her in accordance with her high standards. I never forgot her mantra, and we’ve been friends for years. She would know what to do, and it just so happened that we were in her city.

At first, my friend protested, saying she didn’t know what to say. Just talk to her, I urged.

She told Nadia that she knew she wanted to stand on the left, but sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. She urged Nadia to move to the right so that commuters could walk up and down the escalator. Finally, she said something only someone who likes to break the rules could. “But in your mind you are standing on the left.”

Perfect — and it worked.