Monday, January 10, 2005

Toddler Politesse

When I married Pukka, I got a niece, Bucho. Unfortunately, she lives half a continent away, so we don't get to see as much of her as we'd like. But in early December, we got the chance to spend a week with her. Our conclusion? She's three years old and more polite than Pukka and I put together.

We first noticed it when we found that in almost every instance where I would've broken out with a hearty, "Du-uh!", Bucho says, "Of course!" with this little upward lilt that just melts your heart.

A day or two later, she and I were working puzzles. She had just finished her number puzzle, naming the pictures as she did so: "Four apples!" "Six frogs!" When she got to three, she said, "Three bananas!" Now I must tell you, this puzzle had the sorriest depiction of three bananas I'd ever seen -- all mottled brown and shortened. So when she announced it was my turn to do the number puzzle, I put some pieces in, then placed the three saying: "Three plantains!"

She looked at me with her serious face and said, "Aunt Trish, I think those are bananas."

Of course!

But the absolute best Bucho moment was at the end of our time at their house. Earlier in the morning, Kelsey, a preschool classmate of Bucho's had been dropped off for carpooling. When Kelsey arrived, she had started talked to me about her purple boots. Now, I would've called these boots pink (they were actually sort of a magenta color), but I was not about to pick a fight with a three-year-old, so I didn't say anything to her about her apparent color-blindness.

It's about a half hour later and the two girls are putting on coats and various accessories while getting ready to leave. Bucho notices Kelsey putting her boots on and says, "Oh Kelsey! You have such pretty pink boots."

"They're not pink," says Kelsey. "They're purple boots."

There's a moment as Bucho ponders this with a concerned look on her face. Then she smiles and asks in the high bright voice adults tend to use for animals and small children, "Sooo, what color are your gloves?"