I just finished Room by Emma Donoghue, which is narrated by a five-year-old boy beginning on his fifth birthday. The premise is grim, but I’m not here to write a book review.
It got me thinking about how my daughter, who turns four tomorrow, perceives the world. Further, we’re snowed in today and, while we’re not confined to a single room, available activities are somewhat limited.
Here goes. A (half) day in the life of Madison:
Mom put the railing back up, because Dad said I fell out of bed the other night. This means I have to climb all the way to the end to get out. I make a big boom when I land on the floor.
Dad’s awake on his small computer, but I can come up on bed and watch a Sofia. Blankie first, then I use my muscles to climb. It’s the episode when Clover is freezed in ice. That would be cold. No thank you.
I try Rice Krispies for the first time for breakfast, because we’re making treats to bring to school tomorrow. It’s my birthday. I’m going to be four. Then I’ll turn five next week and then I’ll go to Kindergarten. Everyone is going to sing.
I don’t like the Rice Krispies, but I like listening to them. “Snap, Crackle, Pop,” says Dad. I want Cheerios with milk and tell Dad I want an adult spoon.
The box for my new car seat is my new fort. I ask Mom to help me inside, but then I do it all by myself. Time to put stuff in. “Look, mama,” I say. She looks in and tells me I have quite the set up. “Do you want to tape the flap up so it doesn’t keep falling down?” she asks. I nod. I like using tape.
Time to get dressed. Mom and Dad say I can’t do anything else until I brush my teeth and put clothes on. I put on the shirt Mom wanted me to wear the other day, but I didn’t. When I show her, she smiles and tells me I look great. I also put on my fuzzy pink pants. Vermont Gramma gave them to me.
We’re going to make cookies and Rice Krispies treats. Mom hands me the sugar and I put it on the counter. Then she hands me the flour. It’s heavy, but not too heavy for me. We also need butter. I like peeling the wrapper off. I get to pour everything in and turn on the machine. “Two clicks,” says Mom. I watch everything swirl around.
I make all the balls and put them on pans. My fingers are gooey. I ask if I can wash the dishes, but Momma says no, just fill the bowl with water. Aidan keeps trying to climb up the stool. When I move in front of him, Mom tells me to be nice. I don’t know I wasn’t being nice.
Mom’s going for a run on the machine. I play in fort right next to her. I show her my letters I just drawed. “Pretend I’m not here,” she says. “Pretend I went outside for a run.” I tell her I don’t want to pretend she’s not here. She smiles. “Those letters are perfect, honey!”
I put more in my purse. It’s heavy. There’re the shaky things, Barbie, three cars, my jump rope from Cape Gramma, and some markers. Then I put everything that’s on the floor in fort.
I jump on the trampoline. “I’m running like you,” I tell Momma.
“You’re so fast.”
I am fast.
For lunch it’s peanut butter sandwich. I make it into a Christmas tree. “Here’s the stump,” I say to Dad. “If you eat all of your sandwich, you can have some raspberries,” he says. Raspberries are yummy, but I don’t want my sandwich anymore. Mom says she’s going to eat the crust so there’s no wasting.
Now I get to watch a new movie because Dad says it’s a special day. Beauty and the Beast. Santa bringed it for Christmas. I’m going to watch from my fort. “Don’t you think you should watch it on the couch in case you want to nap?” Dad asks.
Napping’s for Aidans. I’m going to be four.