Three Years

February 21st, 2011 by Editor B

III

Dear Persephone,

You are three years old today.

I just realized that your birthday is exactly five weeks after mine. That means when my birthday falls on Martin Luther King Day, yours falls on Presidents’ Day. I guess that will occur about every seven years or so.

One year ago, I was impressed by your emergent abstract thinking. That development has continued apace. The most recent manifestation has shown up just before you drift off to dreamland. While you’re in your crib, under your blankets, I tell you a story and then sing you some songs. I usually try to work the songs in to be a part of the story, a natural conclusion, but sometimes it functions more as a separate sequence entirely. You’re aware of the structure, and over the last month you’ve started to ask, when the singing starts: “Is the song a part of the story?” Doesn’t sound like much, perhaps, but I was thrilled because it represents a new level of conceptual sophistication.

You’ve also continued to assert yourself with greater vigor, demonstrating why this age is known as the “first adolescence.” I thought you could be obstinate and defiant at two and a half, but wow. I had no idea. You can and will disagree about anything, as the mood strikes you. The best example I can think of lately came just this past week. You woke up and, as per usual, asked me what day it was. I told you it was Tuesday. You replied with an emphatic, “No! It’s Friday!” That led to an interesting discussion on things we can change and things we can’t.

But you’re also very helpful, at least sometimes. You often help me empty the dishwasher. You help me cook, and I find involving you in that process improves your reception of the dish at the table. When we celebrated Candlemas you helped by shining a light on the candles.

After showing little interest in them for months, you recently got interested in your Madeline books again. Therefore I took particular notice when I saw John Bemelmans Marciano was slated to make an appearance at Octavia Books yesterday. He is the grandson of the original author, who has done a number of follow-up books. You were very excited. You got dressed up in a fancy dress worthy of Madeline herself, and you set off with your copy of Madeline and the Cats of Rome for John to sign.

But just as you pulled up around the corner from the bookstore, you barfed all over yourself. And that was the end of that. We were afraid you’d come down with the stomach virus that’s going around — and maybe you did, but it’s hard to say. You didn’t barf again, and this morning you woke up feeling better than you have in a week. Still I felt pretty bad that your big literary adventure ended in such a disaster.

You talk funny. You have particularly hard time with the hard “c” sound. Your crib is your “trib,” for example. It’s pretty cute. And speaking of cute, here are some cute things you’ve said over the past month:

  • Brandishing a marker and a map of the USA: “Can I color the statements?”
  • “Hey you got a fleur de lis on your hat. That means you’re the Saints game.”
  • Speaking of sports, a couple weeks ago you kept saying, “Black and gold to the superbowl!” I tried explaining that the black & gold didn’t make it this year, but you weren’t havin’ it.
  • “We’re in the country of New Orleans.”
  • You seem convinced that anything “spooky” is also “beautiful.”
  • One night you said you wanted to read a book with “pictures and conversations.” That’s a quote from Alice in Wonderland but I don’t know where you picked it up.

And finally I should say some words about your birthday party. We deliberately tried to keep it low key. We invited as few people as we felt we could get away with (sorry if we snubbed anyone) and we asked everyone to refrain from bringing presents. Nevertheless we had over a dozen people here for cake and ice cream and a ton of presents. Xy made a moon cake for you — round and white, not too hard. I bought you a moon globe and — surprise! — so did Michael Homan. The same exact damn moon globe. Pretty funny, right? And of course the reason for the moon theme is your inordinate love for “Sister Moon” which I hope will never die.


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8 Responses to “Three Years”

  1. Steve Godfrey Says:

    This is beautiful Bart. Happy 3 Persephone.

  2. Brooks Says:

    Hooray for the Birthday Girl! What a sweet post this is.

    My earliest childhood memory is being asked my age, and silently holding up three fingers. Arranging those fingers made me feel very accomplished. Seph looks rather pleased with herself too.

    “We’re in the country of New Orleans.” Does anyone doubt that New Orleans is a country? Love the “spooky/beautiful” tie-in, and she’s right: spooky is beautiful.

    Does Seph have a favorite character or scene in the Madeline books? I remember the tiger in the zoo from the first Madeline book, and Madeline and the Bad Hat sparked a thrilled obsession with guillotines that lasted well into adolescence.

    Love the Candlemas pics. Your daughter is having a magical childhood.

  3. Editor B Says:

    Oh yes, the tiger in the zoo was a big deal on her first go-round with these books. We don’t have Bad Hat for some reason, though Xy says it’s the best. The three-finger thing may provoke similar memories for Persephone some day: She didn’t know how to do it until I taught her to tuck her pinkie behind her thumb; after that she told people the “trick” all day long.

  4. Editor B Says:

    (Come to think of it, I was talking to my mom about what sort of book Persephone might enjoy as a gift. See comments above, Mom!)

  5. Mom Says:

    The book is on its way! Enjoyed the conversation last evening. I’m sure it was a magical day for P.

  6. lemming Says:

    Three already?! I remember being full of anticipation for P’s arrival…

  7. chrissieroux Says:

    Happy birthday Persephone! What a big girl! Evan keeps asking if ‘Sephone can come back and play in the big box boat.

  8. David Says:

    She’s really looking older in these latest photos.

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