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Heaven, she said



When Patience was four...

"I like Heaven," she said, "because I love Kiki, and she's in Heaven." She looked sad for a moment, and in classic form, switched to say, "I like Care Bear fruit 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?"

"Baby dolls."

"Of course."

"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 accomplice.

Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
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Image © 2006. All images and text exclusive property of Julie Pippert. Not to be used or reproduced.

Comments

Pendullum said…
When my daughter was about three or four, she had a love of ALL things ugly... She would squeal about how 'cute' the crocodile was at the zoo, she would lovingly hold snakes at the museum when they had touch and feel day...
Tadpoles were lovingly collected and released...
Frogs were duly loved and kissed... and released...
Slugs and snails were 'adorable'.. to
Worms could even be cuddled...
She never really has outgrown it...
She is ten..
She sounds just like you Julie :-)
Gwen said…
I love the picture at the top. Yours?

Creepy crawlies ... sounds like a girl after my own childhood heart.

And wouldn't it be great if we already knew what we were supposed to be?
Robert said…
Perhaps this post speaks to how children can see the beauty in God's creation without the jaded prejudice brought on through years of education that "snakes and rats are yucky". Funny story, whatever the case.
Julie Pippert said…
Gwen, yes, one of my pieces of art. A magnolia.
Mad said…
In our house: elephants, lizards, dinosaurs--all hard to acquire as pets. I'm somewhat relieved that Miss M isn't fond of dogs and cats. It buys me time. I hear that rats do make great pets though they are prone to cancer.
Anonymous said…
She thought she got one over on you, bringing something that turns into a FROG into the house!

I can relate to Patience's sense of wonder and the fundamental equality of creation/creatures more than I can fathom the reactions I get at home. Why is Lorenzo freaked by spiders and alligators the very first time he sees them? Has his memory evolved with knowledge of these dangers to survival?
we_be_toys said…
Beautiful Magnolia blossom!

I love to listen to the games little kids play - I'm imagining right now the whole dollhouse debacle, with the lizard and the dinosaur gnawing on everyone!

In our Fisher-Price dollhouse,we had a problem with Grandma and Chanda (their dollhouse versions) inviting Rescue Heroes over to party down and trash the dollhouse, every time the mommy and daddy left in their minivan with the kids. Those girls...!
Anonymous said…
Ugh. I hope my kids stay obsessed with cats.
Jennifer S said…
The magnolia is gorgeous.

And I've been reluctant to get a hamster at our house. You're up against a lot worse.
Jennifer said…
This is so sweet and so beautiful. Minus the image of the rats, of course. *grin*
thordora said…
I used to have pet ratties and I would like to put you at ease and tell you that they are AWESOME pets. They are sweet and rather cuddly and like to play. It's like having tiny cats.

Gets boys though-the females get nutty...and they tend to have short life spans since they have issues with their lungs. We loved our rats-I'd never get a hamster or a gerbil since they aren't social like rats-no rat has ever bit me. Even my foul mood boy, Vlad never so much as nipped me.

Now I miss my ratties. :(

Vivian met one at the store awhile back and wanted to take her home. Someday....Viv's into bugs and crawling things...this morning I received a lecture about parasites in her belly...too much Animal Planet methinks.

Trust me about the rat. Best pet you could get. That prehensile tail freaks people out though...
SciFi Dad said…
Great story, and an excellent illustration of how a toddler's mind works.
Get that girl a rat!

For real. I had a rat growing up and he was the most kick-ass pet ever.

I had snakes too and they actually can be very sweet but the care and feeding of a snake is creepy. Also, even if they are fangless they can still bite you. Plus, if they get out you are never finding them but if you have a big, fat rat, they have few places to hide.

Next time I see you I'm telling you all about Squeaker, the best rat ever.
Kat said…
I don't mind rats at all. I hear they make nice pets. I have never had one, but I've had my fair share of mice.
Love that girl of yours!
david mcmahon said…
Came here from Kathryn's blog.

Beautiful post, beautiful photo too.

And how blessed we are as parents.
Girlplustwo said…
this makes me wish yet again we were neighbors.
Anonymous said…
"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?"

I could ponder this all day. I love Patience's mind. I just love it.
Aliki2006 said…
That picture stole my heart...
flutter said…
oh, damn it. This made me teary
I have the same feeling about rodents pretending to be pets. Eek. I know someone, however, who went into absolute mourning when her son's pet rat died.
Cath said…
What a lovely and rare trip back to how young minds work and process things. Beautiful.
I too loved ugly creepy things as a child and now I hate them!
That is a precious conversation you've recorded there, one of those we often overlook in our busy lives. Thanks for sharing. Made me smile.
Over from David's blog.
Christine said…
you've got the coolest kids, lady.
Running on empty
Merisi said…
Delightful !
I once came back from a trip to find an iguana had taken over our household. "Lucky you," my husband exclaimed, "it took me a lot of persuading to get the iguana instead of the python she really wanted!"
Merisi said…
Sorry, forgot to mention that David sent me. :-)
Sandi McBride said…
Next to having a full out conversation with anyone over seventy, there's nothing more delightful than trying to decypher childhood chatter. Either way you're a winner.
David sent me...
Sandi
LZ Blogger said…
I just came over here from david mcmahon's blog. Sweet story! THX!~ jb///
aims said…
So elegantly written - perfect images come to mind.

David sent me..
david mcmahon said…
Thank you for your kind comment, Julie.

I am the ricer for every conversation (and they are myriad) that I have had every single day with my children ....
S said…
i love her. that is all.
We live in parallel universes is all I can figure.

P-A-R-A-L-L-E-L :-)
Daryl said…
What a delight

David sent me
crazymumma said…
She reminds me of Songbird, what with her lizards and dinosaurs and the like.

who is Kiki?

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