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Thirty-Eight Months


Dear Persephone,

You’re thirty-eight months old today.

I knew this month was off to a good start when you told me your own version of an old knock knock joke. It was the old “orange you glad” joke which I’d told you a month or two before. An old friend from college had reminded me of it. Here’s your version.

Knocky knock.
Who’s there?
Carrot who?
Carrot you glad I didn’t say banana?

Clearly you got the structure but the pun eludes you.

Knocky knock.
Who’s there?
Tangerine who?
Tangerine you glad I didn’t say orange?

I love that.

This was the first April Fool’s Day you’ve been able to appreciate. You proved remarkably easy to fool. I could point to the window and say, “Look! It’s the abominable snowman!” And you’d look every time. You loved it, though. We even cooked up a plan to tell the people at your daycare that your lunchbox was full of poop. But you were overcome by modesty at the last minute.

You had some pieces of tomato on your plate one night. You said one looked like a wheel, one looked like a rainbow, and one looked like a Muse’s shoe.

You are beginning to ask more interesting questions. For example, a few weeks ago, a sermon came on our house mix and you asked me who was talking. When I said “a Christian preacher,” you thought for a minute and then asked, “What’s a Christian?” I replied, “Someone who follows Jesus,” which led to some more interesting questions. Now I’m bracing for the inevitable: “What is God?” I’m sure you’ll ask that some day soon. Perhaps I’ll draw inspiration from a recent blog post I read and say something like, “God is an idea that helps people understand the world around them.”

Another question you asked would seem easier: “What is Google?” But actually this one stumped me. How to explain Google in terms a three-year-old can understand? It’s complicated.

For a few weeks you had an intense craving for stories. It seemed you were asking me to tell you a story from the moment you woke up until bedtime. As soon as I’d tell you one, no matter how good or bad it was, you’d ask for another. But this seems to have subsided at last.

Your speech grows more sophisticated daily, but you still have lots of funny expressions. For example, You say “talk it” instead of unmute. Like when we have the TV on, and we mute the commercials, and the program comes back on but the audio is still muted. “Talk it!” Which makes sense. For what it’s worth, my spellchecker doesn’t recognize unmute either.

You remain a great lunar enthusiast. Last week, when playing with your friend Lala, you noticed the moon was out and very nearly full. Lala said, “It’s the sun!” You hauled off and hit her in the face. It wasn’t a nice thing to do, obviously, and given that Lala’s nearly twice your size you are lucky you didn’t get stomped. But eerily enough it reminded me of my admonition a few months ago to “strike a blow for the moon.” Have you been reading my blog?

Sometimes you pretend that I’m the Big Bad Wolf. “Can you get me a glass of seltzer, Big Bad Wolf?” Then you’ll wave your wand and turn me into a prince or a king.

Best of all you have begun to spontaneously say things like, “I love you.” Just a couple days ago you came up to me while I was sitting on the deck and, without any prompting, you said, “When I grow up I want to be just like you, Dada.” You said it twice. Amazing.

Published inLetters to Persephone


  1. That last bit made me cry.

    A few months back Sydney and I had the sex and God talk, all in one car ride. It started with questions about the baby Jesus (it was around Christmas time) and I made the mistake of mentioning the Immaculate Conception and then suddenly we were having the sex talk. All between our house and the zoo.

  2. So sweet.

    Love your God thing. I told my niece something like that when she asked me. I also described it shaped like an infinitely faceted diamond though which we each have our own window to view God and that it is when the more of us agree that we build churches and temples to talk and sing about it.
    (She replied: “Uh, suuure, Uncle Bruce:)

    Try telling Persephone that Google may not be God but God probably uses it too for answers to everyone’s questions.

    Lucky Yous!

  3. Funny that Google is harder for you to define than God; but really your definition works for both!

    Julian has been wondering about where babies come from lately. He has known for awhile that he came from mommy’s tummy but last night he was apparently asking D during bedtime about how he got out of her tummy. I only heard one side of the conversation but D was explaining the basic difference between boys and girls. I wish I could say it quieted him down and gave him something to think about as he fell asleep, but he has been far too crafty for that at bedtime lately. Soon enough he had some other reason to be shouting out his door….

  4. Brooks Brooks

    Persephone has revolutionized the knock-knock genre for me. Actually, hers are the first knock-knocks to make me laugh out loud.

    Enjoyed the blog entry at Philozopher’s Stone.

  5. martin m martin m

    ” Pythagoras presented a cosmos that was structured according to moral principles and significant numerical relationships and may have been akin to conceptions of the cosmos found in Platonic myths, such as those at the end of the Phaedo and Republic. In such a cosmos, the planets were seen as instruments of divine vengeance (“the hounds of Persephone”)”.

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosphy: Pythagoras

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