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Fifty Months


Dear Persephone,

You are fifty months old today. To celebrate we counted to fifty together.

The month got off to a rough start. You had a couple severe meltdowns while playing with friends. You’ve not had big issues with sharing before, so hopefully that was just a phase.

We read A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. That took about a month, reading a chapter most every night before bedtime. Sometimes we split long chapters in two. Though it’s clearly aimed at children, I would say it’s the most adult book you’ve read so far. There were some concepts that were new and I daresay a little disturbing to you, such as overt classism or an orphaned child starving on the streets with no one to care for her. It was frankly kind of heartbreaking to behold you encountering such harsh possibilities for the first time, and I seriously considered shelving the book, saving it for a year or two. But we toughed it out. All for the best I think.

Now we’re reading Prince Caspian, which is closer to your speed. Last night I was amazed that you’d already identified Nikabrik as “a bad dwarf,” even though we only just finished chapter six. Granted, the clues are pretty obvious, but you’re only fifty months old after all. What was even more astonishing was the way you put it: “My brain is killing me.” You meant that you kept thinking this thought to the point that it was aggravating. I can relate! Perhaps you’ve inherited my hyperactive mentality. That lead to an interesting discussion of how we can moderate mental events. I pointed out that you generally can’t force yourself to stop thinking about something. But if you “step back” and observe, it tends to help.

Speaking of books, there’s a popular one called Hunger Games which has just been made into a movie. You saw a picture of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen drawing back a bow and exclaimed: “It’s Artemis!” I used my phone to post your remark on Twitter, which is a popular social media service, and as I did so I read my post to you. The problem was that I’d specified Athena rather than Artemis. You swiftly corrected me. Which just goes to show that you know your ancient Greek mythology better than me now.

Some weeks ago I instructed you to say “Send in the clowns!” if your hear someone say something silly in a serious voice. Then I forgot about it. But you remembered, and you used it on me. I forget what I was saying, but it was well-played on your part.

On a similar note, here’s a transcript of a conversation we had last week:

Me: “Are we a part of Mother Earth?”

You: “Yes but we’re a funny part.”

Me: “A funny part?”

You: “Yes because we can forget that we’re a part of Mother Earth.”

I was about to fall out of my chair until you reminded me that you were repeating back something I’d said myself a couple weeks ago. Still I hope you can hold on to the idea.

One day, after a discussion of what meat is, you swore you were going to be a vegetarian from now on. Your resolve did not last, however. You ate some chicken a few hours later. Given how many vegetarian friends we seem to have, I won’t be surprised if this comes back up again later. I wouldn’t mind going back to a vegetarian diet again, but I think your mother might have different ideas.

On April 12 we celebrated Yuri’s Night with some friends and neighbors. It was a trip to hear you lecturing us about Yuri Gagarin.

Last week you announced that you want to get married to one of your pre-K classmates, a boy named Joshua. His qualifications? “I’ve never played with him.” Hopefully your standards will elevate with time.

I can’t close without noting one of the most touching things you said to me this past month:

Dada, once I see you I sort of smile, and I don’t know why.

I feel the same way.

Published inLetters to Persephone


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