Friday, January 29, 2010


These days, the Bean-girl and Legume get into the type of passionate quarrels that only a 5-year old and 2-year old can engage in.

Scene: Kids eating yogurt at the breakfast table.

Bean-girl: I’m eating berry yogurt.

Legume: I’m eating berry yogurt, too!

Bean-girl: You’re eating peach yogurt. Peach is not a berry.

Legume: Peach is a berry!

Bean-girl: Peach is not a berry!

Legume: Peach is a berry!

Bean-girl: Peach is not a berry!

Legume: Peach is a berry!

Bean-girl: A blackberry is a berry.

Legume: Blackberry is not a berry!

I think you get the idea.

I think of that famous quote from The Tempest, where Caliban tells Prospero: “You taught me language, and my profit on’t is/ I know how to curse.” I think it could be modified for our little Legume as “You taught me language, and my profit on’t is/ I know how to argue.”

Never mind, of course, that her arguments make no logical sense. “No,” “nope,” and “I don’t want to” can actually take you pretty far. A reflexive negation of whatever statement another person (usually the Bean-girl) has just said is also a pretty fun trick.

Bean-girl runs through the house. Legume is determinedly on her tail. Bean-girl snakes her way through the living room, twisting and turning, and her little sister is right behind; they form a two-person congo line. Mooommmm, Bean-girl wails, Legume is following me and I want her to stop!

Then later: Legume is in my room and I want her out!

And: Legume won’t leave me alone!

It’s on the tip of my tongue to reply, Now you know how I feel about you sometimes, my Bean-girl, but of course I don’t.

It’s a little heart-breaking, really, to see Legume clamoring for her big sister’s attention at times. Bean-girl, will you play with me? she says with the most winsome smile. Bean-girl ignores her, and Legume tries again. Bean-girl, will you play with me? She repeats herself in rapid fire like a demented robot Bean-girlwillyouplaywithmeBean-girlwillyouplaywithmeBean-girlwillyouplaywithme?

I’m the oldest of three sisters. I have a natural sympathy and identification with Bean-girl. But now, for the first time, I see things through the eyes of the younger sibling.

This morning I carried Legume up the stairs for the daily tooth-brushing/getting dressed routine. Bean-girl followed us, and Legume twisted in my arms to watch and laugh at her big sister. I put Legume down, and Bean-girl suddenly zoomed past us. Legume ran after, but Bean-girl raced ahead into her bedroom and slammed the door shut. I don’t want Legume in my room! Bean-girl said, muffled behind her door. Legume’s face was stunned, on the verge of tears. I scooped her up quickly, trying to forestall them. Bean-girl, come out of your room, Legume said softly, plaintively. Bean-girl, come out of your room.

I danced with Legume in my arms to try to distract her. Bean-girl will come out soon, I said.

I don’t want Bean-girl in my room, Legume told me.

And then a few minutes later Bean-girl was out of her room and the two were laughing and rolling on the floor of Legume's room, in shared hysterics over who-knows-what.



Alyssa said...

Haha! Cute and heartbreaking at the same time.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

So true!

Aurora said...

Oh, so cute. My older kids are close in age and the same thing happened. Can I borrow your post, change gender and claim its mine ;) cause I'll never be able to articulate it as well as you did.

The bean-mom said...

Aurora--interesting that boys act the same way! (I have no brothers)

Mimi said...

hehe this was cute an made me chuckle.

Ophelia Rising said...

I love this. I can SO relate. :)

Yes, boys act this way, too. Our latest thing is:

"Who broke this/ate that/drew on this?"

"I didn't do it."

"Not me."

"Well...*someone* did it."

"Maybe...maybe, Daddy did it?"

The bean-mom said...


*Love it.*
(And hope you're writing is going well--been a while since I've heard from you!)

Life As I Know It said...

Very true! My boys interact in much the same ways. They are lucky to have each other, and one day, I hope they will realize that!

Cloud said...

We're looking ahead to these days, since ours are still so little. Right now, it is Pumpkin, who is almost 3, who is dancing around trying to get the attention of Petunia (who is 4 months old). She is definitely the best in the family at making Petunia laugh.

I'm the youngest and my husband is the oldest, and we're already noticing how that colors our interpretation of situations.