Posted by: Betsy Devany | October 22, 2009

How Life Works in the Mind of a Three-Year-Old

Last Friday, while I was driving to the park, my three-year-old granddaughter announced there would be a change in our weather conditions. “Grandma! Guess what! It is gonna snow tomoooorrooooow.”

“It is?!” I adjusted my rearview mirror so I could watch her facial expressions. She was obviously excited. The front passenger seat jiggled every time she danced her feet against it.

“Yes, Grandma. It is! Tomorrow!”

Being the middle of October, I was very curious. Especially since the temperature outside has stayed in the high fifties. Had I missed an emergency weather warning? “How do you know, Ava?” I asked.

“Decuz, I do.” More dancing feet. “And . . . we needs buttons.”

“Grandma has lots of buttons.”  I told her. More importantly, we needed milk and bread and eggs and anything else people rush off to buy at the first mention of an impending snowstorm. I changed the direction of the car and headed towards Stop and Shop, in an effort to beat the lines.

Ava picked up her two plastic horses and made them dance on her lap, up and down the straps on her car seat, and across the window. I hoped they weren’t scratching the glass. She stopped. “We needs to get carrots and raisins,” she told me.

“What for?”

“The snowman I am going to make. And the snow baby and the snow unicorn and the snow dog and the snow mommy and the snow daddy and the snow kitty and–”

I stopped at the red light, turned my head, and studied Ava. “Are you sure it will snow tomorrow?”


“How do you know this?” I asked.

Ava beamed. “Silly Grandma, it is gonna snow tomorrow . . . decuz I gots to make a snowman.”

The traffic light was now green. The person behind me honked their horn. I put my foot on the gas pedal and begin to laugh. Ava laughed, too.

“I guess we need to buy raisins and carrots at the store,” I said.

“Yes, Grandma. And a scarf and mittens. And bagels, cuz my tummy is saying it is berry, berry hungry.”

In the eight minutes it took us to get to the grocery store, I thought about her mind. How it worked. How she believed it would snow tomorrow, only because she needed to make a snowman. This is why–in addition to novels–I write for young children. Their world is marvelous and innocent. Rich in wonder and imagination and possibilities. A place in which the simplest of things can evoke pure joy. Rocks. Bird feathers. Pinwheels. Rainbows. Buttons and raisins and carrots and fresh snow, which together create a simple snowman.

And maybe it will snow in the middle of a warm October. If it does, I will make a snowman, too.

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