I recently travelled North for a fantasy convention, and on that occasion, I visited an old friend from the university in Alsace. I hadn’t seen him with his family in two years, and seeing how much his little girl had grown was a bit of a shock. It feels a bit stupid to realise that you’ve been treating babies as if they were a separate species and it’s a shock to see them turn into children, but there you are. When I met this little blond ball of energy, I had trouble figuring out how the baby she was had morphed into this.
My friend may frighten the occasional school child with his shaved head and athletic looks, but he’s one of the kindest, sweetest persons I know, and his girlfriend is well-assorted to him in this department. I wasn’t very surprised that their three-year-old daughter had grown so confident and relaxed. She also happens to speak French and Estonian quite fluently (and I suspect, better than most children her age), sings a lot the rest of the time, and she kindly offered me the leftover breadcrumbs from the bread bag after breakfast so I wouldn’t walk out hungry. Needless to say, I liked her a lot after very little time.
She also has a sense of the witty repartee. According to her parents, when a doctor asked her the usual “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, she gave the best answer ever: “When I grow up, I want to do whatever I like!”
You don’t always have to look very far, do you? It’s a good answer when you’re three, and it would remain a great answer at any age if only we would accept it. That’s a great life lesson to take from a toddler, a little girl who can run around with enough energy to power a nuclear plant, howl like a wolf with her dad, show off her cute necklaces then the next moment tell you she wants to be a boy, look wide-eyed with realisation at being told that nowadays girls can marry other girls if they like, sing songs, make dreadful puns at dinner and tell you at length that she’s not afraid of spiders, of dragons, and not even of crocodiles for that matter. And all of this is fine, when you don’t have to decide if you want to be a princess or a boy or a baby wolf when you grow up. And I hope she’ll hold on to that answer for a while. It’s much harder for the world to push you into a neat little box, if you know deep down that what you are is no one else’s decision but yours.
The world is your oyster, little girl!