Evolution designed high privacy settings for our minds, with all our thoughts potentially secret. I keep thinking that’s really true for Lady Baby – my most mysterious person.
A two and a half-year old offers tantalizing hints of her thoughts, has language enough to make it known she thinks a lot, but isn’t always inclined to explain herself. (I suppose I will never know why the polar bear had to wait for its baby.)
A while back her mom sent a playground photo of Lady Baby posed between two hanging poles that wiggle unreliably, one foot on each. The text of Lady Baby’s comment read: “Baby Boy [a favorite doll] taught me to do this, and I said Baby Boy thank you for teaching your mama this cool trick.”
Clearly, I could have chosen Baby Boy as the most mysterious person I know. In a FaceTime conversation, I learned more about Baby Boy and his father Nick (who is himself a teeny tiny baby). Nick drives a jeep. He and Baby Boy have a house on Sesame Street and a cabin in Prudhoe Bay. Baby Boy doesn’t go to the cabin “much,” and when he stays home, Lady Baby takes care of him (she is his mama you remember). They have a dog named Quesadilla, and when I inquired if Quesadilla were boy or girl, Lady Baby told me twice, “Quesadilla is a grown-up dog!”
Lady Baby is such a rapidly changing comet. This month she’s this, but by next month she will know more cool tricks and be able to talk about them even better, should she choose to.
On a Labor Day visit, I learned that Nick had left his huge motorcycle parked on Water Street in Port Townsend, so he could go shopping, and that he also drove the ferryboat and made announcements on board, “on the microphone.”
Does the question about mysterious also imply there is a solution? Solving the mystery of a child might be the very definition of raising a child. Figuring them out. Watching them figure themselves out.
Maybe it’s the mystery of how all this development of imagination and language happens so quickly that astounds me – two years ago she was a “teeny, tiny baby” and so limited. Now she is such a person with relationships, likes, dislikes, and passions for pickup trucks and baby dolls.
And maybe the grandparent role makes me think about time, about how I won’t know how her story comes out. If I can’t know the end, the story stays mysterious.