Bubbe Report: In Danger

When my daughter Isabel, G.’s mother, was just G’s age (a bit over 3), she used to startle me by saying amazing things. At that time we were commuting to Crestone, Colorado. Thirty years ago in winter, the San Luis Valley felt even more remote than it does today. Vast snow-covered peaks of the southern Rockies loomed over our little Toyota Tercel as we drove.
“The mountains are jealous of us,” a voice said from the back car seat. I wondered why, but I knew it to be true. Because we could move around? Talk? I’d often felt the mountains’ distant but real disdain for human life. Now a child had noticed it.
Months before, Isabel’s best friend Reuben had charmed me by announcing “We have two cats. One is named Seren and one is named Dipity.” They did have cats, but not with those names.
Age 3-4, in my experience, is particularly interesting because a child can have good language skills yet still be in a world of magic. “It’s a little sad when they learn to read,” my mother once said. My mother probably cared about reading more than anything else in life, but I knew what she meant. A school-aged child shares our world. A younger child takes us into theirs.
So I’ve been waiting for G. to say something whimsical, but she is a very grounded person. In eight days, she attended two art openings. By the second–the Haiku Trail at Audubon–she was acting like a hostess. She dragged a folding chair the length of a hall to get Pop-Pop to sit down. She offered her mother cheese. She smiled at strangers and even giggled at their friendliness.
And then I got my window into her mind. I didn’t hear the following myself, but Isabel told me.
Background, G. knows Coyote as a trickster from stories and also as ranch denizens (who once tried to eat Tiny Dog).
Scene: Endangered Species merry-go-round at zoo.
She gets on the gray wolf. “I want to ride the coyote.”
Parent: “That is a wolf. Coyotes aren’t on this as they aren’t endangered.”
G: “Coyote is SO stupid. He is always in danger!”

3 thoughts on “Bubbe Report: In Danger

  1. Love this!!!
    Barbara Grady, veteran Early Childhood teacher, came to observe my program at the museum. I tell folks what she told me- that 4 years old is like the University year — they are their most advanced in their abilities at 4. Abilities to be their genius selves without that entry into “our world” the conforming one. Thanks for sharing your granddaughter’s world, Mir!

  2. Wonderful. True that the little ones still live in a world beyond this one too. Your mother’s mentioning it’s almost a pity them starting reading. Wish one could get them starting writing first, give them free reign.

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