Monday, September 13, 2010
R is an endearing girl—precocious, silly, and wise beyond her years. At three and a half years of age, she still likes running around naked—still likes wearing her underwear on her head—still likes squirreling things away; hiding heaps of macadamia nuts, abandoned salt shakers, old saltines and stolen fruit-tins under the stairs in the dark recesses that are hers and hers alone; but she is wise. She has her own language (Mosheeka—"I love you"—has been a part of our family vocabulary for a year now), her own interests (salt, rabbits, dirt, building, and the color yellow), her own future already in sight. At two, R told me she would like to be "a builder, a fixer, and a cooker" when she grew up. Several months later, with the appropriate terminology acquired, she revised her list. "I wanna be a carpenter, a mechanic, and a CHEF!" She works with her hands—making, building, mending, creating. She helps her dad in the wood shop. She helps her Grandpa under the hood of his vintage International dump truck. She gets dusty. She gets greasy. She grabs life by the horns—mucks paddocks, cleans cages, washes dishes. Sometimes I think R does more work around here than any of us but her father, the original hardest worker.
R is almost always cheery, and R is almost always kind, but R certainly doesn't take crap from anybody. As the little sister, she has a well-developed defense system. No one steals from R without risking a furious retaliation, but no one is as likely as R to mend fences. No one knows like R how to give a well-timed hug, a sincere apology, an honest compliment. No one is as good as R at defusing an argument, compromising, or making amends. Steal from R, and you unleash an animal. Ask nicely, and without exception R will indulge you: "Of course you may use my toy/share my ice cream/draw in my coloring book. I don't mind a bit!" Or even, "of course I accept your apology." R doesn't hold grudges. R is gracious. R is perfect for us. R is loved.