I ask her who she wants the main character to be and she picks out one of her bath toys. For a while we were re-enacting Dora the Explorer episodes.
Tonight was a little different. She wanted me to talk about when I was a boy and how I won the spelling bee. This never happened in real life, but Maddie thought it would make a good story.
And so I began to weave the tale of how I found myself in the finals of the State Spelling Bee. I asked Maddie what she thought the first word should be.”key”, she replied. OK, so we spelled it out on the side of the bathtub using her foam letters.
I had made it to the next round! “What should the word be this time, Maddie?” “cake” ok, cake. Again, we spelled it out.
Two more rounds to go! The words are getting harder! “What’s next?”
“emotion” Maddie responded. OK, I repeated, “emotion”.
Huh? And right there and then I did an actual DOUBLE TAKE.
I asked her to say it again, just to be sure. “emotion” she said, slowly trying to sound it out.
Wow, ok, emotion. We spelled it out, using the “q” as the second “o”.
I had made it to the final round. The word was “shame”, which we again spelled out on the side of the tub.
I should have been impressed with that last word as well, but to be honest, I was still a little stunned from that sudden jump: “cake” to “emotion”. Not something I expected to hear from a preschooler, that’s all.
It is small moments like these, so pure, so utterly random and surprising, so astounding, that make parenting such a joy.