Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Conversation in the Library

Zuzu and I went to the library after school today. Coco was home sick with David, so Zuzu and I made a quick stop to do her Kumon homework and play on a library computer (don't think about the germs).

Zuzu is generally very willing to chat with random adults. This is both endearing and slightly concerning. I'm pretty sure she's an oversharer at school and there is probably nothing her teachers don't know about our home life! But it is sweet to hear her confidently assert herself in these conversations with adults.

Anyway, today she was wearing her favorite winter holiday dress, plus a "Native American headband" made out of construction paper with a construction paper feather on it. A woman came up to her at the library to compliment her on her [somewhat problematic simplification of Native American traditions now codified by white culture and worn by a little white girl] headband and Zuzu immediately struck up a conversation with her. I said almost nothing in the exchange and then tried to type it into the notes on my phone as quickly as possible so I wouldn't forget it. Here is the close-to-verbatim script:

Lady at the Library: Did you make that headband?
Zuzu: We made it to be like the Native Americans at our feast.
Lady: Oh, that's nice. You had a feast?
Zuzu: (cheerfully) The Native Americans brought food to the pilgrims.
Lady: Yes they did!
Zuzu: (ominously) But then some of the pilgrims killed some of the Native Americans.
Lady: Mm-hmm. Did you eat turkey?
Zuzu: (enthusiastically) Well, I mostly ate cornbread. And there was soup and a different kind of turkey. Pink turkey. But I don't like soup.
Lady: Well, maybe when you're bigger you'll like soup.
Zuzu: (defensively) Well, I'm in kindergarten.
Lady: Oh, you're in kindergarten?
Zuzu: (still defensive) So I'm already big.
Me: She means when you're a grown-up.
Zuzu: (understanding) Oh, sometimes grown-ups like food they didn't like when they were kids.
Lady: That's right. What's your name?
Zuzu: Caroline. And my sister who's sick today is Coco.
Lady: Those are nice names! I have three daughters and two granddaughters and a grandson. My grandson is in first grade.
Zuzu: (not to be outdone) Well, there used to be three of us. But my first sister Eliza died.
Lady: Oh, that's sad.
Zuzu: She died when she was a baby. I wasn't born yet.
Lady: Oh, that is sad. But she's with Jesus. And when your mama gets to heaven, Jesus is going to hand her her baby.
Zuzu: (looks at me doubtfully, back at the lady). Well, Eliza is six. She isn't a baby.
Me: (awkwardly) Yes, she would be six. It's hard to know what it will be like in heaven.
(Lady's phone ring and I attribute it to Divine Intervention)
Me: (relieved) Nice talking to you!
Zuzu: (waves) Nice talking to you!
Lady: Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

The moral of this story is don't strike up a conversation with a five year old unless you want them to tell it like it is.


  1. (I'm so glad you changed your comments back!! Anonymous can pack sand...)

    So SO much on the "don't start conversations with little kids, won't be conversations with little kids... that you may not be ready for" bc my daughter will also break down any little thing for total strangers. Love the confidence and assertiveness.. not always so much with the candor! ;)

  2. Oh my gosh that is the best thing I've read on the internet today, thank you!

  3. Haha, awkward but also sweet. I’m glad Zuzu tells people about both her sisters. My belief is that you will meet Eliza in heaven, but is it just me or is it kinda weird and presumptuous for a stranger to tell your five year old that a man who lived 2000 years ago will hand Eliza to you? As if death and heaven weren’t hard enough concepts to wrap our brains around.

    1. I agree! I wasn’t offended, but she certainly assumed we held the same beliefs with no evidence to go on. Definitely presumptuous.

    2. That imagine is kinda startling (and also, dreamy). xox

    3. I thought so too. But I love Zuzu's totally unselfconsciousness talking about her sister. :)

  4. One of G’s classmates brought up “siblings I didn’t get to meet” and I thought it was a nice way of putting it. G just says “I have dead brothers.” Also we're atheist so that would have been the awkward part of our conversation.

  5. Mary told someone yesterday (twice) that “baby Cale died.” Sigh.