Monday, February 18, 2008

Are you happy, daddy?

From the Dear Alex archives - with the question face.
Yes, that's a big gusher of snot.

Dear Alex has a way of cutting to the heart of things - this is her new question, and it always makes me smile. It's not a philosophical question, and Dear Alex seeks no nuance. The only possible answer to the question is either yes or no.
Usually the answer is "yes, of course I'm happy." It really has to be, because I generally am. In truth, there are many times I'd sincerely like to talk about what might be making me unhappy at the moment she's asked the question. It's because this well-timed question usually has something to do with something that Dear Alex has done or is about to do that she knows annoys the crap out of me. It's her own way of saying that she knows she's doing something wrong, and is doing her best to charm me out of getting mad. I love it.
Every once in a while, though there is a certain seriousness, a directness to the question that gives me pause. Did she really just ask me that? Does she know what sad means beyond the immediate here and now of "Daddy's unhappy because there's trucks and cars and toys and trains and books and puzzle pieces and stickers and clothing strewn from one end of the apartment to the other, and there's Cheerios in daddy's shoe, and daddy went out the other day to get coffee and go to the store with a sticker on his face that he didn't discover until he was on the way home...". That sadness beyond the immediate is something I think that she knows of, but doesn't yet have the words for, and something she's working on, for better or worse. As I've gone on about many times before, she's a smart kid, and very little escapes her.
I know sad. I've been there, and Dear Alex seems to get it, to occasionally rise above her awareness of only her own bad self, to consider the feelings of someone else. I may be reading too much into it, but I think there's a good soul in there.
Someone once said of Dear Alex "She knows the secret of the universe, but she's not telling anyone."

"Alex stand on the blue D and you stand on da udder D"

We had a good day today - Nanny J. came back, and took Dear Alex outside for a long time to play on this oddly-warm February day, at one point the temperature (64ยบ) was the same as Mexico City, where Beautiful Wife is for the next (counting down) 5 days. We played letters, a game invented by BW, that basically consists of Dear Alex telling me which letter to stand on as she does the same. She knows her alphabet, backwards and forwards, and has started to figure out that those letters make words. I swear she's going to be reading before she's potty-trained.

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