It’s been a while since I wrote anything on this blog, and even longer since I told you something about the Bean. The last story I told about her was way back in July when I told you about how she was able to identify her toy animals when asked. Compared to the things she does now — reciting the alphabet, counting to twelve, and parroting nearly every word she hears — the “find the piggy” game seems so simple, almost silly. “Duh, of course she can find the piggy!”
Today’s Bean story also happened during bath time. Giving the Bean a bath is generally my job, though I don’t really think about it as a job. (Well, sometimes I do.) It’s kind of like a scheduled play date for me and the Bean.
As you know from the last story, most of the Bean’s bath toys are animals. She has several of them, but one of her (and my) favorites is a pair of turtles.
As you can see, there is a big turtle with a smaller turtle on the big turtle’s back. Now, if you’re like me, the first thing you think when you look at it is “mama turtle and baby turtle.” The first few days we had them, I started referring to the turtles as mama and baby. Not long after we got them, it occurred to me that there really wasn’t anything specifically feminine about the big turtle. I realized that I must have unconsciously assigned sex to this turtle, and the only real rationale I could come up with was based largely on gender stereotypes. That bothered me. Furthermore, I thought to myself, this is a bath toy. Bath time is daddy-daughter time for us. So wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look at the pair as a daddy turtle and a baby turtle?
So, from then on, whenever the Bean pointed to the turtles and asked who they were, I would identify them as “daddy turtle” and “baby turtle.” I felt a small sense of pride in having these turtles that served as our counterparts at bath time. I began to wonder if the Bean got the connection, wondering if she thought of herself as the baby turtle and me as the daddy turtle. It made me like the turtles even more.
Fast forward to last night.
As the Bean played in the bath, she stopped splashing for a moment when she spied the turtles on the edge of the tub. She smiled and pointed at the little turtle.
“Who is that, Bean?”
She smiled. “Baby.”
“Yeah, and who’s this?” I said, pointing to the bigger turtle.
She paused for just a moment, then flashed her most impish grin and said, “Mama.”