Kiddo#2 is quiet and perceptive. Often you don’t realize she’s been paying attention until she repeats something you’ve said or mimicks something you’ve done. I’ve heard her encapsulate views of the world that no one ever told her but which make an incredible degree of sense, and she’s done this from a very early age (at least since she was three.)
Just for example, when we arrived at the new house, I kept the cats in their carriers for a little while, and she helped me let them out one at a time in one room, so they could get used to the place. She said quietly, “FirstCat breaks your heart when she meows in the carrier. Because she’s so brave. SecondCat meows all the time, but when FirstCat meows, it’s so sad.”
How do I know that’s true? Because I said it six years before she was born, as we traveled with two cats and us in the Civic, moving into Angeltown. Later I asked my Patient Husband if he’d said that in the car, and he said no, but he’d said it a long time ago. And that’s the way Kiddo#2 operates.
Last week, I was giving her a bath when she laughed and said, “Do we have atomic mosquitos?”
She and I are covered with bug-bites at the new house. The others not so much; I guess we’re sweeter? I agreed that we do have atomic mosquitos.
Then she said, “What’s it like to be a teenager?”
I asked why she was asking that, and she said she was just curious. She’s only six. I asked if Kiddo#1 had been talking about it, and she said no. She’d just been wondering.
It’s an odd thing to be wondering, so I wracked my brain for the perfect description. Finally I said, “It’s like having five answers to every question.”
Her eyes got big. “Five answers?”
I nodded as I washed her off. “Right. If I ask you what you want for breakfast, you tell me you want waffles.”
She said, “Or Cheerios.”
“But when you’re a teenager, it’s more like you think, Waffles. Cheerios. A bagel. Yogurt. Nothing. Then you want to get dressed, and instead of picking one shirt, you want to wear five shirts. Right now, if you want to use the bathroom, you pick one bathroom. What if you thought, ‘I want to use the downstairs one. And the upstairs one. And the one in Mom’s room. And I don’t have to go at all’?”
She said, “I’d be really confused.”
I said, “That’s what it’s like to be a teenager.”
She said, “Well, I know the answers now.”
I’m glad she does. I hope she keeps knowing them.