We sat in the car while Ben ran into the bakery. I turned around to face my daughter, and as I did, the conversation began with her counting. Starting slowly: Onnnnnnne, Twwwo…and then ending with a blur of gusto: Threefourfivesixseven… and into eventual gibberish. I reminded her that she was two despite all the counting she would do. Besides, I explained, I like her being two.
Linnea: But, I want to be big, Mama
Me: Why, L.E.?
Linnea: So, I can drink beer, and eat wine.
Me: Eat wine?
Linnea: No, mama. DRINK wine. (said so confidently that I think she convinced herself I made the mistake.)
Clearly, my daughter equalizes drinking with adulthood. Good, right? I wasn’t so sure.The only time we told her no to something simply because of her age (that I could think of at the time) was to drinking wine or beer. That, we explained at meals, was for grown-ups. And because of our conversation, I began wondering just what her impression of us grown-ups was anyway. And this is what i came up with:
1. We are not quite too old or too boring or too lazy or ___________, to not want to get bundled up and make a snowman. Grown-ups like to play too. (But they sometimes make kids go in sooner than they would like…so they can’t be fully trusted.)
2. Grown-ups, however, are not quite as much fun as best buddy toddler friends…who know that protocol is to make a funny face every time a grown-up says, “Smile”….
and continue to do so…despite the grown-ups best efforts…
3. Grown-ups cannot have as much as fun at the zoo because they are not allowed to ride on the carousel; they have to stand. (I picture all these toddlers thinking, “Suckers”, as they go round and round.)
4. Grown-ups don’t get to wear costumes for halloween or play dress up for fun.
5. Ok, some do…
6. Grown-ups don’t dig in the dirt as much as kids…whether it is just for fun or to find hidden treasures, whichever comes first.
7. Grown-ups could learn a thing or two from toddlers about how to take photos…like how to master this blurry effect to an artistic level.
8. Grown-ups like to read a lot. Especially children’s books…do they even have grown-up books?
I hope the next time I ask Linnea what it means to be big, her answer will include more than eating wine. Through the memories of her childhood, I hope she can understand that “being big” means growing up, but never growing outside of yourself.