The World's Cutest Niece (now to be abbreviated "Twcn"--or possibly "Toucan") likes maps. Evidently. The second-to-last time I skyped with her and her parents, she spent much of the time saying "Camel! Camel!" while her parents recounted their trip to the environs of the Dead Sea. She had gotten to ride a camel with her daddy on the trip and was still very excited about it. Much of the rest of the time, she marched smilingly in front of the webcam with a book of Israeli maps. Then she climbed up between them on the couch and gave the book to one of them to "read" to her. Did I mention she's not even two yet?
The three adults (her parents, on one side of the globe, and me on the other) all laughed indulgently at this, and then Sister-in-Lu picked up one of those photo-illustrated guidebooks and waved it at me. "She also likes to look at this," she said. "She'll sit down and look through the whole thing." Apparently sometimes she makes her parents identify everything in the photos. Even the tiniest photos. Even if she couldn't possibly have any point of reference for the subject of the photos.
Dave describes it like this:
This happened again when Lu came back with a camera full of pictures from the City of David excavation south of the Old City of Jerusalem. The ruin is an archaeological mess of eras.
Hannah points at a specific feature of a picture. She says, “Bah-TANNN!” (or some combination of syllables we can’t agree on). Emmylou says, “Hannah, that’s a stepped stone structure (Hannah says, “Steps!”) that supported the fortifications of the ancient city.” (Hannah points at it again, saying “Bah-TANN!”) Lu: “It might have been from the Jebusite period, or maybe from when David was king.” Hannah points at something else in the picture. “The tower on the left is Hasmonean.” Something else is pointed at. “Bah-TANN!” Lu: “See that house in the middle with the four columns? (Hannah says “Co-UMs!”) That’s from the seventh century [BCE]. It was built right into the stepped stones! And see, those are steps going to the roof! (Hannah: “Steps!”) And that room over there? It still has a toilet seat in it! That’s where they put their stinkies.” Satisfied, Hannah is ready for the next picture. The next picture appears, and Hannah points to a specific feature and says, “Bah-TANNN!”
She did this for the whole photo shoot, which was around 45 pictures. She’s gone through up to 60 pages at a time of the pictorial travel guide this way too.We were marveling over this together--the brilliance of TWCN and the mystery that is the mind of a small child. "Maybe," I said, "she just needs to know that you know the answers. She doesn't need to understand them. She just needs to know there are some, and that you, her parents, know them."
Life would be so much easier if I could just relax in knowing that Someone--my adoptive divine Parent--knows the answers. I have some other allegorical and analogous thoughts about this facet of my niece, but, as I am wont to do, I shall discuss them at another time.