Saturday, 10 October 2009

On marriage and mortality

Since we left New York, Sophia has developed an obsession with a pair of life’s key passages: marriage and mortality.
Probably due in part to her enviable cache of Disney princess gear and Barbies, Sophia is really interested in marriage – what it is, why people do it and what the ceremony entails. We’ve tried to answer those questions as best we can: two people promise to spend the rest of their lives together, because they love each other, and you get to have a fun party and wear a fancy clothes.
Due to her own family circumstances, Sophia thinks all brides have a baby in their tummy.
But she has plans of her own: when she grows up, she will marry Rocco, her first and best friend who lives across the street from us on London’s Columbia Road. She will wear the Snow White dress her godfather Chris gave her, and has not yet finalized Rocco’s outfit – although a Spiderman get-up is currently the frontrunner.
Please see this blog for further details.

Mortality – how do you explain that to your kids? Especially when you yourself are scared stiff of it. So far, Sophia’s encounters with it involve the flies that trespass on our mobile property and the children’s song that goes “Poor Roger was dead and lay under the ground – way-yo, under the ground”. She has a fanciful idea of what happens, but doesn’t yet understand that it’s final.

She is a loving soul who approaches life all cylinders blazing, but wants to kill stuff. I guess it’s a normal rite of passage for humans, once they realize their strength and power. She’s become quite deft at using the fly swatter, which is OK as long as the flies are in our space rather than outside.
More worryingly, she keeps saying she wants a gun. Her gun, though, would be part of a Wild West, Annie Oakley type revue in which she slayed rattlesnakes, protecting her parents and sister from untold harm.
It started the afternoon we visited Legend Rock, a dusty, empty place between Coy and Thermopolis, whose cliff side petroglyphs are tens of thousands of years old.
The four of us were alone in the sagebrush valley, sharing space only with oilrigs some ten miles in the distance. Signs warning of rattlesnakes far outnumbered any information on the petroglyphs. Sophia decided that if a rattlesnake were to appear, she would yell, “stand back!” to Daniel, Lulu and me, then shooting the slithery beast.
We’ve said maybe when she’s 18, and she hasn’t forgotten it.

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