Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

E is 6, and in first grade. Had I been keeping a blog lo these many (well, half-dozen) years, you all would have been treated to unbelievable numbers of E-stories. They are unbelievable. Or they are to her smitten, awed and oftentimes-terrified-by-her-precocity mother. (Of course, if you're an Augmom, and I'm pretty sure that almost everyone who reads this is, you already know this. But since, at least in my head, I'm writing 'for the masses'...)

Here's the latest one. We're walking home from school on Thursday, the day before Rosh Hashanah. E is asking me questions about Jewish holidays, as she is wont to do when one or another of them comes up. I was telling her that to Jewish people like us, Rosh Hashanah is not only a celebration of the new year, but is the birthday of the world. This led her to ask me how the world was made, and that led me to talk to her about the differences between the stories told in the bible and the stories told by scientists. After we pursued this some more--her reaction after she asked me who the first person was and I told her about Adam and then about humans descending from apes was "Are you kidding with me, Mom?"--I told her that deciding whether you believe the bible or believe scientists was something she was going to have to work out for herself, but that I had found a way in my own head to sort of believe in both, by seeing the bible as a series of stories that help us to understand the stories that science tells us by simplifying them.

E considered this for a few seconds, then said, "I think I know how I can figure this out. I'd make a chart with two circles. One would be religion, and the other would be science. And they would come together in the middle [she meant overlap] and that would be where you can believe in both. And then I could write all the things I believe that go in each place, and see where the most things are, and that would tell me what I believe in."

This thrilled me on so many levels, I can't even begin to tell you. For one, her ability to take in all the really difficult topics we'd talked about in less than ten minutes and really ask intelligent questions about them. For another, her natural bent towards scientific observation, which is of course my leaning, too. But most of all, it was just how serious she was about it, how much she wanted to figure it all out, how completely willing she is to delve into higher-order or higher-level thinking and do some hard philosophical brainwork.

I'm telling you. This child may not stand out in a classroom as anything but bright, but she's definitely beyond bright. She's scary-smart, in so many ways. I ache sometimes thinking about how much I could be doing for her that I'm not. And yes, I know that there are plenty of things I could be doing for her that I am...but there's so much more. She's so interested, and still so malleable, and the days are just slipping by, and I just have this vision of her hardening up the longer I just let her sit, like a clay model with the potential to be David, if only Michelangelo could find the time to do some sculpting instead of fixing dinner or cleaning the house or putting together folders for the PTA or...

[And yes, I know that David is made out of marble, not clay, but marble didn't work in that pretentious little rant there, so shut up.]

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