Saturday, December 27, 2014

Rae's View

My Rachel makes me laugh each and every day. She is a very literal interpreter of language and looks at the world differently than many people do and the results are often highly entertaining. She has had several interesting observations lately.

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[We were in the car listening to The Twelve Days of Christmas]
Rae: What's a partridge?
Joy: It's a bird, kind of like a quail.
Rae: What's a turtledove?
Joy: Another kind of bird.
Rae: Oh.
[Several verses pass - French hens, calling birds, swans a swimming]
Rae: Why does this song have so many birds? And why would anyone think they'd make a good present?

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Rae: My teacher said my brain was on fire. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Joy: A good thing, I think. Were you being really smart?
Rae: Yeah. It was during math. I knew all the answers fast.
[A few minutes pass.]
Rae: Mom? Does my head look okay?
[It is at this point that I realize that Rachel thinks her brain is actually in flames! She knows fire and knows it can be bad and her brain seems like a really scary spot to have a fire! The next day I tell her teacher that Rae isn't ready for metaphors yet.]

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The kindergarten teachers at Rachel's school each had an Elf on the Shelf. Rae was quite interested in the elves and their antics and checked up on them every day. She asked me several times why we didn't have an elf and I just answered that we had other Christmas traditions. (I have never liked the idea of a Naughty List or telling kids to be good or Santa will bring them coal. And I certainly did not want to have to come up with an Elf message every day!) About ten days before Christmas, Rachel cornered me in the car and asked, "Can I please have an Elf on the Shelf? Everyone in my class except two have one and they talk about it all the time. I know it's not real. The Elf doesn't talk to Santa and you hide him. But I want to have something to hide, too." This was too reasonable a request to just ignore. After more discussion, I determined that it didn't matter what we hid, Rae just wanted to find something every morning. And she wanted to be in on the hiding sometimes, too. So, Rudy the Reindeer joined the Christmas fun. We all took turns hiding him or setting up little scenes for him. Rachel was so delighted she's still hiding Rudy two days after Santa came.

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Rachel did some serious questioning of Santa Claus this year. Several times she asked me if Santa was real. I was pretty evasive, just returning the question with "What do you think?" Rae is only 7, so I was reluctant to admit the truth, especially since I couldn't tell where her thoughts were coming from. Did she hear older kids at school discussing Santa? Was she using logic to figure out that Santa's feats were impossible? She is so tuned in to the emotional messages behind words - did she hear the untruth in people's stories of Santa? I didn't know. So I did nothing.

On Christmas Eve, Katherine helped Rachel write a note for Santa and they left the usual milk and cookies. Rae wanted to add carrots for the reindeer, too. So we did. Rachel went to bed zinging with excitement about Santa.

On Christmas morning, Rachel and Katherine found a letter from Santa and plenty of presents. After all the gifts had been opened, Rachel surveyed the paper strewn living room. "Santa brought me a drum!" she exclaimed. I could hear the amazement in her voice. Never in her wildest dreams had she thought to ask for a drum. She shook her head. "I guess the Naughty List isn't real after all..." I don't know if that was the basis for all the Santa questioning, but she was clearly worried that she had done something bad!


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