Raising little children requires you look at the world just a little differently. Maybe that cloud you said is white, isn’t exactly white after all. Perhaps there is something about a giant spider that is “so beautiful”. And don’t ask what color your hair is. You probably don’t want to know.
This was highlighted to us when we showed our daughter Della The Princess Bride. When the rodent of unusual size attacked Wesley she screamed and clung to us.
“Don’t worry,” we said “Wesley will slay the evil rat!”
But when Wesley did stab the rat to death instead of relaxing in relief she screamed, “Oh no. Oh no,” and then wailed “It’s dead!”
At the same time we’re teaching them language, manners, and “don’t touch that”, they’re trying to learn the basic laws of reality. Laws which are frequently disappointingly rigid. It doesn’t matter how loud a tantrum you throw, you still have to share the moon with the other side of the world half the time. No matter how terrifying they may be, Mama cannot stop the frogs from hopping in the yard. And regardless of how much you think they should, snakes do not come from acorns. I just can’t change that.
We had a miscommunication yesterday. After nap I took Della and Marshall down to the pond to swim. Falls is coming, or perhaps I should however reluctantly, acknowledge is here. As we walked back under the oaks we stepped over the first green acorns of the season. At least I stepped over them. The children had to stop to pick up every single one.
“What’s this Mama?”
“It’s an acorn.”
“A Snakecorn?” Della asked with wonder.
“No honey, an acorn.”
“It’s a snakecorn!”
“No, it’s an acorn. There’s no snake.”
“A snakecorn,” she whispered with wonder.
I let it go. She’s learning so much about the world. The proper pronunciation of “acorn” is really not that big a deal.
They would not move forward from the acorns and it was time to start supper so I struck a deal.
“If you all will go straight to the house you can keep the acorns you have in your hands.”
I guess they considered it fair, because they both jumped up and took their handfuls of acorns inside.
Then maybe and hour later Della brought me her acorn and wanted it open. I told her I couldn’t open it, which earned me a “how can my mother be this stupid?” look. She went off to her room where I heard some loud banging I chose to ignore. A moment later she returned with a cracked acorn.
“Open it Mama.”
So I did, but when I handed it back to her she gasped.
“Mama! There’s no snake in there.” She looked back at me accusingly.
“No honey, it’s an acorn, not a snakecorn. There are no snakes.”
“Mama!” She glared at me and walked away.
Reality, it’s a fragile thing.