After hearing Sam proclaim that she saw a commercial for “a real life light saber” I decided to create a little guessing game for her called “Real or Make Believe.” You can probably intuit the rules, and the first round went like this:
“Okay Sam,” I said, “What about Jedi?”
“Jedi are not real. They’re make believe.”
“Real. I saw some at the zoo.”
“Right.” I thought I’d throw her a curve. “What about dinosaurs?”
“Well, dinosaurs were real but now they’re all dead. Or turned into birds and alligators and stuff.”
“Nice. How about fairies?”
She paused. “Fairies are both real and not real.”
Oops. I thought that was an easy one. “No, Sam, fairies are make believe.”
“Not all of them!” she shot back. “Fairies like Tinkerbell are not real, but ferry boats those are real.”
It took me a second to figure out what she was saying, but once I did I laughed, conceded the point, and considered myself schooled.
When we reversed the roles and I let Sam name something that I’d declare real or imaginary, her first entry was “God.” I thought that was a little advanced.
Though not quite up to such theological conundrums, Mandy is also a little advanced in her own ways. Lately she’s been asking about the meaning of words she doesn’t know. We were reading the other day when one of the characters in the book was visited by a tax collector. “What’s ‘taxes’ mean?” Mandy said, slapping her palm over my left cheek and eye in the universal sign for “Hold up a sec, I got a question.”
“Well,” I said, “taxes are money we give to the government so they can buy things that everyone needs.” This seemed close enough for a two year old on whom the intricacies of pork barrel spending might be lost.
“Oh,” she said. “Like CANDY.”
“…Yes,” I said. “Like candy. Delicious government candy. Also roads.”