Kina and I have struck a deal regarding intrusions into my home-office-slash-bedroom. Periodically, in the rare moment when I don’t have a video call, she’ll sneak in and we’ll take pictures of each other on my laptop. Otherwise, she knows that I’m busy and will tootle off to entertain herself in other ways. I feel like I’ve gotten off easier than other parents in that respect this year; there’s something about Weekday Kina that is relatively undemanding, and our agreement feels resilient and mutually-beneficial.
My gentle dismissal language, though, has started to crop up in her fake job pantomimes. She’ll sit at her computer—lately, a dictionary and her first-aid kit—and type away until I ask her what she’s doing, when she’ll turn to me and say patiently, “I’m a little busy doing things. Go find something else to do, okay buddy?” It feels very gentle and loving, and frankly is one of those turns of phrase that a four-year old so readily absorbs that I don’t mind having reflected back at me. It does not take much to imagine how much worse it could be.
I wonder if this kind of imaginary-world behavior that Kina loves to demonstrate will carry over in any way to her adulthood, imprinting itself on her psyche through play. She’s not all that patient—if I’m being honest—in her day job of Actual Child, but in as much as we tolerate her diminishing monstrousness as normal, we are optimistic. In the meantime, she’s modeling outstanding office etiquette. The other day, she emerged, gasping, from my bedroom and wheezed, “Oof I need to get some air!” Truly, my child.