There is a certain logic and reasoning that is quite beautiful, despite it’s total lack of, well, logic. Two-year-olds possess this form of logic. It’s stunning. It’s beautiful. It’s comic. It’s a special way of taking 2+3 and arriving at “you hid the rainbow in the garage, didn’t you?”
My daughter has a knack for this kind of logic. We were driving in the car the other day and she said from the back seat, “Mama, I need a baby cake!”
As I searched my mind for what a baby cake was likely to be, I asked a nice, neutral question, “Oh, you do? Why is that?”
“So I can get older.” She said, “So I go preschool.”
Ah, a birthday cake. Of course. You only get older when you have a birthday and there is always cake at a birthday. Ergo, if you eat birthday cake, then you will get older. (I have a good friend who also subscribes to this belief, is somewhere in her mid-twenties, and has stayed there for several years. This brand of logic is not exclusively the purview of two-year-olds.)
Fiona is actually waging a concerted campaign to get me to enroll her in preschool. She has claimed ages ranging from three to “17 and one half. I old enough for preschool now” to various strangers in the last several weeks.
She has asked me to measure her and insisted that she is big enough to go to school on the big yellow bus. She has worn her Daddy’s shoes and told me that, “I the Daddy Boss and it my work go preschool now.”
Academically, I’m pretty sure she’s past preschool. She knows her letters and is learning their sounds. She can spell her name and is learning to write it. She knows all her colors. She knows the days of the week. She can count to one hundred and can read numbers to ten. She can count objects as high as she has the attention span (anything more than 25 instantaneously becomes “100, lots, let’s go…”). She can use scissors and glue.
Socially though, she’s not ready. She’s still a baby on some levels. She still drinks from a bottle of water throughout the day as a comfort (many kids her age still use pacifiers). She still needs hours of snuggles. She’s easily upset by other children crying.
Plus, she’s two. While yes, there are preschools that accept children at two, I firmly believe that it is better for her to keep working on playing for a little while longer. I think that her emotional well-being will be better served by letting her have more time to just be a baby, by a little more time having her needs met more responsively, by having no expectations placed on her beyond those of basic civility.
She is waging a war though, and eventually she will win. Birthdays will come. Cake will be eaten. She will grow up. It’s a bittersweet business this eating of “baby cakes”.