These days Lillian is very concerned with whether she’s been good (i.e., well-behaved) or not. Many times a day she’ll ask “Have I been good today?” or “Am I being good?”
This evening we needed to tidy up the living room, and she threw herself into it very enthusiastically.
Later she asked, as usual, “Daddy, have I been good today?”
And as usual, I said “Well, pretty good…”
“Why only pretty good?”
“Well, OK, you’ve been good. Very good.”
“You mean the most perfect good ever?” she said in a genuinely curious voice.
Today was Lillian’s second-last day at child care. I arrived to pick her up as usual at about ten to six. She was holding a plastic cup quarter-filled with nondescript pebbles, small pieces of chalk, bits of bark and other worthless items which somehow seemed worth picking up and keeping.
“She likes to collect stuff,” said Mitra, one of the carers who has known Lillian for maybe 3 years now.
Meanwhile Lillian dragging me away. “Come and look, Daddy!”
She had been chasing those floating spiky golf-ball-sized seed thingys, which she calls fairies. When she caught one, she put it with others underneath the leaves of a geranium plant. She proudly showed me her stash.
We rode home, with Lillian holding tightly her plastic cup. When we got home, she put it down and promptly forgot about it. In a few days, I’ll put it in the bin, and she’ll never notice. She’ll be off collecting other things.
Such as caterpillars. The ones she collected off the cabbages at the farm last weekend, and brought home in a jar with holes in the lid and a few cabbage leaves inside, have now spun cocoons for themselves. Though some have been attacked by ants already.
Mummy: “Wouldn’t it be good if we planted lavender at the farm. Apparently it keeps insects away.”
Lillian: “Why does it keep the insects away?”
Mummy: “Because they don’t like the smell.”
Lillian, alarmed: “But then the grasshoppers will go away too!” Lillian likes to catch grasshoppers; she and Mummy spent some happy time doing that on the weekend.
Daddy: “That would be a good thing!”
Lillian: “Why would that be good?”
Daddy: “Because the grasshoppers eat all the plants and things.”
Lillian: “But then you wouldn’t have to mow the lawn!” Daddy had spent quite some time mowing the lawn and slashing long grass on the weekend.
Aside: simple conversations can have so much cognitive texture. Most obviously Lillian is curious and wants further explanation to help her make sense of the funny things adults say. Having heard the explanation, she can immediately see potential consequences, and raises these as objections to the views of others. In particular she can see how a consequence can amount to an objection to a proposal from somebody else’s point of view.
This morning, with no encouragement or direction, Lillian chose her own clothing and dressed herself fully to go to child care.
A combination of pinks and purples and fairies, of course.
Just another of those little milestones.
I’m approaching up the stairs. Lillian is holding a pen and a card.
Why, what are you doing?
I’m writing something.
But you can’t write…
I’m writing pretendly!