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Two and a Half


Dear Persephone,

A friend recently asked me if we would be having a party for your half-birthday. That conjured images of yet more presents. Trust me when I say you’ve got more than enough stuff at this point in your life. Our friends and family have been very generous to you.

So I thought we’d do something different. I asked you to choose two of your toys to give away. The concept was a little difficult to explain, so I drew a picture of two girls, one with lots of toys, the other with none, and then I showed the first girl giving a toy to the second. I think you got it.

You picked out a stuffed bear and lamb, two toys which you definitely still enjoy, and we went to the Goodwill. You put them in the donation bin all by yourself.

I was very proud of you. Ultimately I think this exercise was not about charitable giving (though that’s a fine thing to learn) but rather about not being too attached to material things. At least I hope so.

We’ve been wondering when you’ll enter the “why” phase. I don’t know if it’s a documented phenomenon, but it seems like all kids go through a phase where they are asking “why” about anything and everything endlessly. Frankly I’ve been looking forward to it. I’m a somewhat curious person by nature, and I love to contemplate the whys and wherefores of all manner of subjects.

But actually I think you may have already entered this phase. Only instead of saying “why” you ask “What does x mean, Dada?” And x could stand for just about anything.

  • What does water mean?
  • What does eating mean?
  • What does sitting down mean?
  • What does Hello Kitty mean?
  • What does garbage mean?

And so on.

You are also given to saying all manner of funny, touching and weird things. Some examples from about six weeks ago include:

  • I’m a clown girl.
  • Cats are nice to me.
  • Lightning makes me die.

About a month ago you decided your favorite color is purple. A couple weeks later you expanded this to purple and black. For about a day you had three favorites, purple and black and brown, but you seem to have settled on just purple and black for now. Often you want things to be purple — your food, for instance — and the fact that they’re not could be problematic except you’ve invented an ingenious solution. You simply wave your magic wand, which is visible only to you, and you make things purple. Or black. I don’t know where you got this idea, but you often walk around turning everything in the house purple. I think you’d turn the whole world purple if you could.

Much of the time your little hands are curled up into tightly balled fists. If I ask you want you have in your hands, you might say it’s your wand, or an alligator, or almost anything, but most often lately it’s a cat and a dog — one in each hand, I guess. Sometimes you’ll be in danger of dropping your cup and spilling your drink because you’re holding it with balled-up fists. I can ask you to put your cat and dog down, or to give them to me, and you will, after which you can use your hands for a time. But it won’t be long before they’re balled up in fists again.

Published inLetters to Persephone


  1. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    The Cute Police have been dispatched, and will arrive shortly…
    Do you have the “album” (I’m that old) –Getz and Gilberto?– great stuff
    I remember from when I was about P’s age….Mom was a jazz-cat.
    I highly recommend it for naptime music.
    Kiddo’s are way musical y’know….

  2. Lee Lee

    That why phase is very cute when it begins, but the cuteness wears off. My eldest used to ask about street signs and directional questions all the time. It was fascinating to see the wheels in her mind go about such abstract things as stop signs and speed limit signs. While the why phase is basically gone, now it’s the “are we there yet” phase. The girl can travel to Florida or Oklahoma like it’s nobody’s business, but going for a 2 hour car ride is pure hell on earth!

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