"I like Heaven," she said, "because I love Kiki, and she's in Heaven." She looked sad for a moment, and in classic four, switched to say, "I like Care Bear snacks too." Then she blew a raspberry.
"Did you know," she said around her candy-masquerading-as-nutritious snack, "Did you know that tadpoles turn into frogs?"
She stared at me intently.
"Yes," I said, "I did know that. What do you think about that?"
"Well," she dug in her cellophane packet for a moment, "Look look Funshine Bear!" She popped it in her mouth and chewed with verve. "They turn into something else. They know what they are going to be. Do we turn into something else? Do we know what we're going to be?"
Sometimes, I don't know whether she means something literally, or if she really is grappling with a metaphysical issue.
Before I can decide in this case, she's off on another tack. She slants her "hairy eyeball" look at me, and stares at me intently, "I like frogs, but I like rats and snakes better." She raises her eyebrows, a look she's been practicing in the mirror recently.
This is a reminder that while her vivarium is interesting (a new favorite word)---with morphing froglets and all---what she really wanted was rats. Barring that, a snake. She hasn't gotten over her disappointment with Santa on this one. And since I was in charge of writing the letter to Santa, she's sure I bear some blame too. She happens to be 100% correct in that. Tadpoles/frogs were a stretch for me, and rats and snakes---things I pay professionals to keep out of my house---were beyond my comprehension as pets.
"I'm sorry," I say, lamely and mostly insincerely. "What else do you like?"
"I'm going to go play with my doll house now. See what creatures can go there." She starts to gallop skip away, then pauses to pick up her current favorite lovey, a black rubber lizard with brown dots. She cares for that lizard like it is precious real. I imagine the lizard will rampage through the dollhouse and eat the little boy doll again. Boys need to get eaten by lizards, she believes.
Across the room I hear her exclaim, "DINOSAUR!" and I know lizard will have an accessory.
By Julie Pippert
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© 2006. All images and text exclusive property of Julie Pippert. Not to be used or reproduced.