Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Shopping with the Destructo-Beast yesterday, my little girl had an epiphany. At 11 months-old, she is just now assigning Mr. Blessed and me names. I am “Ama” (pronounced “AM-uh”) and her father is “Ada” (“AH-duh”). Today she noticed that the world is full of other humans sharing Mr. Blessed’s salient characteristic—his “Ada"-ness. As we strolled through the grocery store, she would crow from the basket every time she spotted a man, “Ada! ADA!” Flapping her arms wildly and pointing with both hands, she was quite pleased when we spotted a whole herd of young men hiding out at the magazine rack, something her Ada himself is prone to do.

I find it fascinating that not only can she tell men from women, but understands that what makes her Ada an Ada and not an Ama is this very maleness. Far from being fungible “parents,” we are instead distinct male and female entities in her mind, enough so that the very name she has given us she now uses to describe others of our particular sex.

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