Newsletter: month forty-eight

Dear Ladybug,

You are now officially FOUR YEARS OLD!   There’s so much I could say about how you’re growing up and just what kind of funny, sassy, dramatic kid you’ve become, but maybe it’d be best if I just let you show the world yourself:

I sense someone’s about to become a viral web sensation!

In fact, you turned 4 last Friday on the 19th, but you argued that that could be correct since you hadn’t had your birthday party yet.   I tried the explain the science of the scenario, that on March 19, 2010, you had orbited the sun four full times, and so that was the criterion by which you were judged to be 4. You countered that you had as yet had no birthday cake with 4 candles to blow out and, in the absence of such confirming evidence would continue to remain skeptical, which you expressed in delightful koan fashion as “If one has a birthday without a party, does one really get any older?”

You finally had your party yesterday, with cakes and streamers and screaming girls and pizza and games and giant anthropomorphic rodents, which is to say that we went to Chuck E. Cheese.   You’d been very exacting that you wanted a Princess and the Frog party, although when I pointed out that that would more or less mean that everybody would be dressed like Princess Tiana*, you revised your declaration and opted for simply requiring Princess and the Frog presents instead.

* It’s worth noting, however, that I was required to where a green shirt to the party, on the grounds that I was the frog.

As has also been the tradition, your Chuck E. Cheese party was actually the second time we celebrated your birthday this month.   This first time — your actual birth date itself — we had a family affair at the Coco Palace.   The Coco Palace is a Thai/Japanese/Chinese restaurant that serves Asian dishes whose deliciousness is exceed only by their price.   Seriously, most dishes cost an arm and a leg, and some even require a kidney or two.     I’m quite pleased that your culinary palette extends far beyond the typical   “macaroni and cheese or chicken fingers” of most four-year-olds; I just wish it didn’t extend into the sphere of   “dad will pay off dinner in debtor’s prison.”

Last month your excitement had been focused almost exclusively on news of your little sister, but as the magic March 19 date loomed closer and closer, you’ve grown exponentially more excited about turning four.   This seems in part a confusion on your part between the terms “older-bigger-larger” which admittedly are strongly correlated and, when taken in sequential pairs are more or less synonyms.*   For example, you’d momentarily convinced yourself that at 4 you could stop using a car seat, reasoning this as

  1. You can quit using the car seat when you get heavier.
  2. “Heavier” means “bigger”
  3. “Bigger” means “older”
  4. 4 is older than 3, so you have become older
  5. Therefore you have become heavier, so
  6. You can get out of the car seat.

and though I was moved by syllogistic manner of your presentation, you’re still banished to the car seat.

* At swim practice the other day you noted that the lockers in the dressing room came in two varieties: those that were very tall, and those that were half the size.   Consequently, you asked that I place your clothes in the younger locker, since you were the younger of us.

In fact, you’ve spent a lot of time crafting arguments of the form

  1. I want   X, but you said I can have it only if I’m Y-ier
  2. I’m 4.
  3. Therefore I’m Y-ier than I was at 3.
  4. Gimme X.

I might point out that Proposition (3) is somewhat fallacious, but I do appreciate that you’re at least trying to frame your requests for ponies, bubble gum, candy, and Barbie Dreamhouses as logical arguments rather than temper tantrums, so kudos.

This fascination with logic and reason (or at least the superficial trappings of it) in part seems connected to your increased interest in science.   Right now you can recite the order of the planets, the colors of the color spectrum, and even the four principle elements that make up living things (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen, FYI), although I have to admit that at first you were confused about the latter bit, at one point asking if “elements were those things we hung on the Christmas tree?”   Astronomy in particular fascinates you, and you ask me all sorts of questions about Jupiter and Saturn and Mars and especially about whether or not the little robot there has gotten unstuck from the sand yet.   (Last I checked, no.)   Your interest is such that you’ve actually (a) checked out astronomy DVDs from the library and (b) demanded that I take you to an astronomy movie showing at the Journey Museum in town.   If there was ever any doubt that you would grow up to be a nerd… well… it’s all gone now.

You’ve also seemed to be much more excited about music lately.   Actually, that’s not true: you’re as excited about music now as you’ve always been.   Rather, what’s changed is the number of songs that you’ve committed to memory, which rivals most iPods.   You’re a big fan of Top 40s tunes (as evidenced from the YouTube bit above), songs from Glee (as also so evidenced), They Might Be Giants, seventies funk, you name it. In fact, you do more than sing: you perform!   You bob your head to the beat if it’s mellow and thrash your head to it if it rocks; you pirouette and spin on your tip-toes if it’s delicate, or pop-and-lock if it’s thumpin’.   Your mother has already filled out your application for American Idol’s Season 21 and So You Think You Can Dance’s Season 17, so you’re kinda booked in 2022, FYI.

So let’s recap:   You’re 4, fond of stating science facts and information about planets, plus you you sing and dance and groove incessantly, hollering at the top of your lungs in the car or at home or at school or wherever else the urge compels you.   Either you have some form of lyrical Tourette’s syndrome, or you’re poised to be the Buckaroo Bonzai for a new generation! Awesome!   (Papa K would be proud!)

Happy birthday, Ladybug!   You’re just awesome!

Ba ba

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