Friday, December 09, 2005


Fiona is growing up, and I'm looking at her moving out of toddlerhood with a certain wistfulness. She will be three soon and she's grown up faster than her older siblings, I think, because she drags herself relentlessly forward trying to keep up with them. She's also more verbal than any of them were, and more sociable.

She still calls her forehead a "twohead." I think 8 or 10 months ago she mis-remembered the word, and the rest of the family took to her little slip with delight. But aside from this developmental anachronism and occasional overgeneralizations of grammatical rules, her speech is remarkably grown up. She has a whole lot of 'ketchup' adverbs ... words that get added as a condiment to various complex sentences. Words like "apparently" and "actually." A typical sentence: "Apparently I enjoyed the blueberry candy cane that I got at the Silverton Christmas Faire." She truly speaks in paragraphs, this child.

At the aforementioned Christmas Faire she met Santa. We've done next to nothing to hype the Santa Myth, since the older kids have never believed in the literal truth of it. But Fiona is at a wonderful age for wonder and excitement, and still isn't particularly interested in teasing apart the real and the imaginary. When we arrived at the Faire and she spotted the man in the bright red suit, her eyes got very big and a smile lit up her face. This particular Santa had a real bushy grey-white beard and was just milling about in the crowd, greeting children. Very unintimidating. Fiona walked up with her big round eyes and he squatted and had a few quiet words with her. She shook his hand. She told him she was all ready for Christmas. She was delighted by the whole encouter and so was I.

Lately I think I see flashes of the Future Fiona. When she plays her tiny violin, she bursts into tears when a note doesn't sound right. She sits on the couch with a needle and thread and a bin of 1/4" beads and spends 45 minutes silently stringing the longest necklace I've ever seen a child make. She painstakingly works to copy out her name in every colour marker she can find. She knows how to turn on charm to serve her wants and needs. She is curious about complex issues like death, war and family relatedness. She has a very complex understanding of time and tells me, for example, that she now goes longer and longer between breastfeeding, and after she turns three she'll stop breastfeeding altogether -- and I almost believe her.

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