As Kina becomes less and less a toddler (which, let’s face it, that ship has sailed) and more and more a kid, we’re all wrestling with the question of what it means for her to grow up. We talk with her all the time about the fact that she’s literally growing up (It seems her legs have grown four inches since we’ve been locked down), but it’s started to become apparent to her that growth is happening, and she doesn’t like it. The other day, she asked to sit on Laurea’s lap to eat dinner (which happens more often than we’d like, but it’s clear that they both find comfort in the arrangement, and so it persists). Kina’s legs have now gotten so long that she has to sit side-saddle on her mom’s lap, and so she could look Laurea directly in the eye and tell her that she really didn’t want to grow up, and that she wanted to stay with Mommy forever. Similarly, last night, she refused to let me leave the room at bedtime and begged me to hug her and never stop. Bedtime has rituals (a storyline that charter subscribers will remember), but I also didn’t want to let her go.
We’re all torn up over the idea of growing up generally, but there are really two things that I hate about this moment: First, that she doesn’t like the idea of growing up, which is unfair and totally out of my control; and second, that I’m frankly scared these days by the idea that she will have to grow up and navigate this version of the world. I have to believe that as callous as this society has become, it’s still more likely to give three-year-olds a pass on some of the interpersonal horrors this year, but such is not true for adults (or, tragically, even older kids), and so we find ourselves grabbing Kina into bear hugs at every opportunity and squeezing her tight—trying to hold her in, wrap her up, pack her molecules together so densely that whatever life throws at her will shatter on contact. I reckon that no parent wants their kid to grow up, even in the best of circumstances, but I feel like the pandemic should allow kids to stay the same height and age until a vaccine is produced and a new president is procured. Just a little hold up while things settle down, and then we’ll all feel better.
Before we go, a quick correction to yesterday’s edition, prompted by our Canadian friend Davin: Our description of the show Octonauts yesterday suggested merely that it was “British”, but the show is in fact a Canadian creation, based on a series of children’s books by Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy at meomi.com. Davin suggests they are lovely, and we have no reason to dispute that. We regret the error.