I met a little girl on Saturday afternoon at a church youth ice cream party. She'll be 2 next month and was so smart. I was amazed and saddened at how self-sufficient this little girl was. She's in the foster care program and has probably learned to fend for herself out of necessity.
She came to me at one point and handed me a huge bubble wand, the kind that makes super big bubbles. Then, she patted the driveway.
I wasn't really sure what she wanted, but we went to blow bubbles. I heard my own daughter call out so I turned to see what she needed. Another nearby adult gasped, but couldn't stop what was happening. The little girl took the bubble solution tray off the small table it was on and put it on the driveway. Naturally, soap was everywhere. She tapped my leg, pointed to the tray (that was virtually empty at this point), then squatted to pat the driveway.
So that's what she wanted. I've never been really good at interpretation like that.
It reminded me of a time when Sydney was just a little older than that. She had only been 2 for a couple of months when we piled in on Mom while our house was under renovation. The great thing was that my mom and aunt lived side by side and Syd got to play with her cousin Faith when she visited her Mimi (my aunt).
Every afternoon, Syd and Faith would go out to the driveway and play in a pile of gravel and in the driveway sand. They'd take their plastic buckets and shovels and play until we had to drag them kicking and screaming away.
One day, Sydney came to me and asked, "Apple cashew?"
She'd never eaten anything made of apples and cashews so I wasn't sure what she was talking about.
I asked her to repeat it again. She got in my face and moved her little mouth slowly, "Ap-ple ca-shew?"
I began wondering if it was something she'd seen on The Wiggles. They were always singing songs about fruit salad and such. Or maybe Dora. But all I could recall from Dora was the chocolate tree. I had no idea where apple cashews came from.
So I got my mom. I told Syd to tell Mamaw what she had told me.
Mom looked puzzled. "Did she say 'apple cashew'?"
Poor kid. We did this all afternoon. We had no idea what she wanted and all I could do was apologize for not knowing. She knew I was trying.
Finally, Jim came home from work.
"Tell Daddy what you've been telling me," I said.
"Apple cashew?" She looked at him with hope that had diminished several hours earlier.
He studied her face for a minute then said, "Does my baby want to build a castle?"
She jumped into his arms and hugged him.
It was "I build castle?"
So we took her out to the pile of rocks and sand and we all helped build a castle that day.