Thu 8 Mar 2012
Abigail is determined to know everything, right now. And to grow up, right now. Yesterday she spent a fair amount of time “snipping down” her dad and I with imaginary scissors so that she would be the tallest in the house. She constantly asks me for stories about “the time when I was an adult.” In these stories, she suddenly wakes up as an adult who can ride bikes, drive the car, cook dinner, and work for money. These stories fill her with exultation and she climbs onto something tall and asks “what number am I?” She wants to read the adult books on the bookshelf, and to trade shoes with me.
She also asks hard questions, and follow up questions, and follow-ups to the follow ups, all day long. I’ve spent the last few days clarifying to her what germs are. Tonight at dinner she wanted to consolidate her knowledge of germs, resulting in my drawing back-of-an-envelope diagrams of tiny germs floating around and bumping into food, suddenly multiplying into big piles that can make us sick, and being attacked and destroyed by the tiny “fighters” of our immune system. She found the visuals vastly helpful; so helpful, she wanted hug after hug. She now knows about good germs and bad germs, and that they can only be seen with a microscope (she had never heard of a microscope and squealed with excitement at the thought of such a thing existing), and that they live all over our bodies but especially in our mouths, noses, and tummies. Some of her questions about germs: Do they have little rooms in my tummy where they live? Do they have brains? Can they get out of my mouth? Can they jump? What are they when they die? Are we smarter than germs because we are bigger? Do my fighters know nice germs and mean germs? Do the fighters have swords? Are they fast and strong? Do germs and fighters sleep at night? Are germs making me sick with my cough? Are germs making you barf? After I told her that the germs and fighters live in her body like a house, she said, “My neck is a wall for them.” She totally got the simile.
I find all these conversations both exhausting and exhilarating. She learns SO FAST. It is a marvel to witness sometimes, how she connects all the bits and pieces of her understanding into a more and more cohesive whole. And I hope I’m doing okay with answering her in a way that she can understand and will not give her totally false ideas about the world.
We are planning to put her in preschool a couple days a week starting later in the spring. Earlier than I originally wanted (she’s only two and a half, after all), but she is craving more social interaction with other children than I can manage to provide, and it will also be good to have her used to it before the twins come a long and putting her there is a necessity. I laugh imagining what the teachers will do with her once she becomes comfortable enough to ask questions like those on this list of a day’s discussion topics that I wrote down recently:
why do cacti have thorns and not leaves?
babies are people, so why don’t they have teeth?
what is God’s name?
does Jesus have a body like us? why does Jesus have a body and God NOT have a body?
Are angel bodies like God or like Jesus? Do they have feet?
What are enemies?
Were we all kids once?
Can the babies be two Diegos?
What animals don’t have feet? Why don’t they?
Fish swim with fins. What do people swim with? (her answer: swimming suits)
Oh, Abi, Abi, my tiny, little bitty lightweight, voraciously curious little girl.