I love how kids see the world.
I also love free stuff. So when we bought our house (no, the house unfortunately was far from free), and the previous owners asked if they could leave us some things, I jumped on it.
One of those things is big, and old, and heavy, and takes up a large amount of real estate in the basement.
And sometimes, the kids ask to use it.
“Can we go play with the water table downstairs?” my stepdaughter asked.
At first, I had no idea what she meant. “The water table?” I pictured interactive splashing stations like those at the Providence Children’s Museum. That is definitely not what we have in our basement.
After a beat, I understood. “You mean the pool table.”
Yep, that’s what’s downstairs. A pool table. And I thought it was hilarious how she’d made that connection. To her, a pool is a swimming place filled with water. She associated with that image when we called the game downstairs “pool.”
A few weeks later, something similar happened again. We explained to the kids that we were having a painter friend of ours come tackle the super high walls in the stairwell. (Both my husband and I are slightly afraid of heights.)
Five minutes later, my stepdaughter asked, “When’s the artist coming?”
Painter. Artist. They equated in her mind, and it made me chuckle.
For Halloween, she wanted to donate some of her trick-or-treat candy to her school.
“They’re going to send it to soldiers … on water, I think!” she informed us excitedly.
“On water?” At first I thought maybe she meant the Navy. But no, that didn’t seem right. Then I got it. “You mean overseas, don’t you?”
She nodded agreeably. “Yeah, probably that.”
I love this child.
She’s clearly listening to what you’re telling her. She’s just understanding it in ways that make sense in her mind.
Pool table = water table
Painter = artist
Overseas = on water
It’s entertaining to get a glimpse into how a kid’s mind works.
Like when we were all talking about preparing for Thanksgiving this week.
We’re hosting it at our house this year. So my husband and I put together recipe lists and shopping lists and who’s-resonsible-for-what lists — but we still need to figure out what to feed the kids. Because they eat approximately Two Categories Of Food for any given meal, and ne’er shall they wander into more adventurous territory.
“We need to figure out the menu,” I mentioned in passing.
And for some reason, my stepdaughter got excited at the prospect. “Can I help?” she asked, with surprising enthusiasm.
“Of course!” I agreed, glad she was showing interest in participating. Maybe if she helped plan the meals, we could come up with some twist on the Two Categories Of Food and expand her horizons, and then maybe she’d help with cooking, and if she cooked it, maybe she’d be more inclined to eat it — my mind went running with hopes and dreams and ambitions.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time that day to get to our planning. But that didn’t deter her. Nope. The next time she was at our house, she asked about the project again, all on her own. “When can we work on the menu?”
I was thrilled she still wanted to do it, so we decided now was a good time.
And there I was, all ready to discuss variations of chicken nuggets and hot dogs, when she headed over to the craft supplies.
“What are you doing?” I asked her.
“Making a menu!” she replied, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
As I watched, she collected paper, pen, glue and feathers, then asked for the list of recipes we were going to cook.
Because she was going to write it all down, and decorate it, so our Thanksgiving guests can see what they can choose from to eat.
Like a menu at a restaurant.
Happy Turkey Day
As I write this, we still don’t know what we’re feeding the kids this Thursday.
But what we do know is, we’ll have a water table to play on, a stairwell that has been expertly painted by an artist, and the knowledge that sweet treats have been sent out to soldiers on water.
Our guests will also have a beautifully crafted menu to tell them what they’re eating, which I’m sure will be appreciated.
And there’s one other thing we know, too: That stepkids — and blended families — are hilarious, ridiculous, and also awesome, and I’m very thankful for mine.
Originally published in The Herald News on Nov. 18, 2018