Friday, September 5, 2008

Bean-girl growing up--some snippets

About a year ago, my sister-in-law gave the Bean-girl a story book that I intensely dislike. It’s sappy, New Age twaddle. In the book, a little girl suffers slights from peers and scoldings from authority figures, feels misunderstood and down-hearted. Her guardian angel then appears and gives the little girl words of affirmation and completely incoherent New Age-y slanted babble. The angel wears a crown, and is surrounded by tiny winged fairies.

Bean-girl, naturally, loved the book and had to hear it over and over. Thankfully she then forgot all about it. Until tonight, when she found it on her bookshelf and asked for it to be read for night storytime.

The angel has wings, Bean-girl observed when we reached that page.

Yup, I said.

Angels have wings so they can fly, Bean-girl said.

Uh-huh, I agreed.

Angels are part bird and part woman, Bean-girl decided.


There are so many cute stories of the Bean-girl I could tell. The things she says, the “jokes” and “riddles” she now makes up (she claims that her best friend, at least, finds her jokes funny). All the discoveries she is making at age three and a half, the way she is trying to grasp the complicated rules of the adult world. The pleasure of seeing her develop real friendships with her peers, and of seeing her and “Lisa” bond and try to figure out this world together. And, of course, the pleasure of seeing her care for and protect and play with her baby sister.

It’s not all sisterly fun and games, of course. As Baby Legume has gained mobility, she has gained the ability to knock down Bean-girl’s “art installations” (complicated structures of random toys heaped up on one another), tear her books, grab toys and cookies from her hands, and follow her everywhere. Bean-girl does not always take kindly to this, and has occasionally pushed the baby. But a stern reprimand pretty much put an end to the pushing, at least from Bean-girls’s end. Baby Legume herself feels no compunctions, and will readily grab the Bean-girl about the waist and pull her down to the floor. Sometimes they wrestle like tiny Greek wrestlers, or baby bears. They roll on the floor; Legume pulls at Bean-girl’s hair and clothes in delight, and Bean-girl laughs.

Don’t poke your sister’s eyes! I cry, as baby fingers jab.

Don’t worry, mommy, Bean-girl says, squishing her eyes closed. I’m squeezing my eyes shut.

Bean-girl’s friend Lisa has less patience for baby-toddlers, and has twice pushed my darling Legume down at playdates. “Go away, baby!” she yells as Legume toddles toward her and Bean-girl’s play. “This place is not for babies!” Poor Legume just wants to see what the big kids are doing! And she’s relentless; I may remove her from the big kid area, but she keeps going back, undeterred. I understand her. But I also understand the older kids’ point. They don’t want a toddler stomping on their intricate (if unfathomable) preschooler designs, knocking down and trying to eat their toys. Bean-girl wants to spend time with her own friend, and shouldn’t always be forced to play with the little one. Lisa has a little sibling of her own, still an immobile infant, relatively unthreatening. I predict that sparks will be flying in her household when her little brother learns to walk.
One of Bean-girl's riddles:

Q :How do you make a kite float in the air if there is no wind?
A :You tie a balloon to it.

I thought that was pretty good, myself.

"Self-portrait" by Bean-girl, Summer 2008.
This is actually a pretty good likeness.


ophelia rising said...

What a wonderful picture! And, I really love the joke. She has wisdom, that one. :)

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