Raising Richmond: So misunderstood

What our daughter thinks we keep in the attic (and other glimpses into her adorable, three-year-old brain).

What’s in the attic, according to our three-year-old daughter who has never been in the attic:

  • Pears
  • Watermelon
  • My “icing gloves”
  • Grandma’s big slippers
  • Her brother and sister

We have a pull-down attic. It’s not an ideal play space for a small child, so we’ve never bothered to show her what it looks like. She talks about it a lot. She thinks that the above things are in it, in addition to anything we’re discussing that she can’t currently see. Someday when she does see the attic she will be so disappointed–and probably confused about why her noisiest and largest toys are up there.

She has a similar misunderstanding with how I go through tolls differently than her dad. I have an E-Zpass, and he doesn’t, so she was confused about why he stops and pays and I drive straight through. She used to bring it up a lot, but I’ve explained how it works and she’s stopped asking questions about it. But I wonder what she’s told herself to explain the different toll approaches. She recently got a $20 bill for a gift, and her suggestion was to give it to her dad for his car.

As I watch how she builds her own world, it reminds me of things that I thought were truths when I was a child and didn’t seek confirmation of because I thought I understood correctly.1

  • The alphabet only went up to the letter “R” when my dad was a kid.2
  • Certain people were the same person–specifically two family friends named Mary; Dustin Hoffman and Richard Dreyfuss; Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.3
  • Our house had both a living room and a dying room.4

I love hearing how my child catalogs the world she knows. Whether it’s listing what’s in the attic, letting us know when she thinks that Dixie Donuts is or is not open (this is a big thing for her), or recalling things that happened “when I was a baby” and what will happen “when I was a big girl.” I don’t tell her when she gets it wrong. Mostly her stories are a mashup of nonsense and real things. I hope, anyway, because otherwise big kids return to her daycare to push her down the steps a lot when she’s not off walking to playgrounds alone.

Her imagination is huge, and I like where it goes. I don’t know why she thinks we’re hoarding siblings in the attic–or out-of-season fruit–but I don’t want to be the one to tell her that’s not happening. So, until then I will continue to bring a tray of food to the attic twice a day.

Only kidding.

I just enjoy listening to her stories and her take on how things work. I know she’ll have all the right information someday. And eventually she’ll be tall enough to pull down the attic door herself anyway.

Photo by: lou & magoo

  1. This is different from “Things I read in Judy Blume books and assumed they were something dirty but didn’t question because I didn’t want people to know what I was reading.” Turns out the A&P is just a grocery store, guys, false alarm! 
  2. I thought this because he told me this. 
  3. I don’t know why the last four would be on my radar as a small child. 
  4. I thought this until I was nine years old when I figured out it was a dining room. 
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Kelly Gerow

Kelly Gerow lives and writes in Richmond. She probably does other stuff in Richmond, too.

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