We’ve been doing things outside the last few weeks to prepare for the upcoming cold and snowy season.
Ineviteably, whether it’s putting a wrap on the air conditioning unit, raking leaves, or trimming back plants, Zoe is nearby and always wants to know “Whatchya doin’?”
I always tell her ”Winter’s coming,” or “we’re getting ready for winter,” or some such thing. It never occurred to me how confusing that concept might be for a toddler until one day while I was tugging yellowed hastas out of the ground. She asked her question, and I explained to her — for the umpteenth time — that I was working on the yard because winter is almost here. That’s when her gaze turned to the street.
“Is that Winter?” she asked, as a jogger raised a hand in greeting as she puffed by.
I laughed. “Nope,” I said. “Winter is a season…” I launched into some explanation about the four seasons, which she clearly was quickly bored by as she interrupted to ask “Will Winter come in a car?” and then “Is Winter a boy?”
I haven’t been able to find a way to convey to her yet that winter is not, in fact, a boy person or a girl person. I’ll try to explain it’ll be winter when it snows, and she’ll say “is he coming on an airplane?”
“No.” I try again, while stifling a laugh. “Winter — he’s not a person…he’s not a he…he’s a season…there’s four of them…” I stumble along until she interrupts.
“Is he a dog?” she asks.
What this girl can do amazes me. She recognizes her letters, knows her numbers and sings more than a dozen songs by heart. She can tell me in paragraphs about her morning at school, knows when to pull her brother away from danger, and can concentrate on a drawing for long minutes at a time.
But it was this talk of good ol’ Winter that made me think about how hard it must be to comprehend this world around her, and understand what an amazing job she does at figuring it all out. When you see a child day in and day out you can take for granted the milestones and growth. But this time in her life is so incredible because her knowledge base and comprehension is growing so quickly. It’s funny that it took trying to explain something she doesn’t quite understand to get a glimpse of how smart my little girl is.