by

Preconceptions

My daughter really gets me. Here’s a snippet of conversation we had the other day while playing in the backseat as her mom drove us back from hiking a little piece of the Appalachian Trail:

Me: Hey Brigit–want to have a fire later?
B: What for?
Me: Just to watch.
B: And if somebody gets too close and falls in we can pull them out…[pause for her patented EVIL LAUGH]…and then we can push them in again and cook them and eat from their bones!
Me: That’s a good plan, my favorite daughter ever!
B: I love you Daddy! Can we put the fire on a sidewalk so people will come? [MUCH more evil laughter and cuddling ensued here]

It’s very cool that she lets her imagination out to play like that. (And also cool that she’s just playing.)

The thing is…she’s not quite¬†four years old (“three and three-quarters” according to her, but it’s really more like three and seven-eighths now). I can’t put this kind of thing into a story unless I make her brain bulge from alien experimentation or cybernetic implant or maybe demonic possession. The thing we do where we drive along looking for zombies or dinosaurs (sometimes birds count, depending on her mood) is probably also not going to work. She’s quite specific about species names, you know? For the dinosaurs, I mean.

Naturally (or unnaturally?) I could age her a little bit, though. For verisimilitude.

But…is she really precocious? I mean, sure, to some extent. But how much of it is just that we talk to her? And listen? And encourage her to play with us?

Suddenly that sounds like I think we’re model parents. Not what I’m getting at, and I have lots of relevant improvements I’d like to make in myself if I can get access to my source code for a minute. Not just the “taller” thing, either.

Anyway. I think lots of people can do more than they’ve allowed themselves to believe. Part of that’s coming out in The Secret, my thriller-in-progress (which yesterday progressed all the way to West Virginia from Texas, because I wanted mountains). But I really want to explore the notion further.

It’d be a lot of fun to try a whole novel with a precocious-young-girl protagonist–my answer to Heinlein’s Podkayne of Mars or David R. Palmer’s Emergence. Maybe I’ll do it someday. I kinda wonder, though…what would happen in a world where living life to the reasonably-full was normal? What if somebody didn’t wanna?

I don’t suppose I have anything (r)evolutionary to say here. It’s just on my mind today, and I figured I’d mention it. Plus the word “preconception” has grabbed my brain, and I’m thinking about events that might occur in the womb before birth, and how they might be both relevant and scary enough to invite suppression. And what if the suppression is imposed from outside? As a matter of course? What if it suddenly stopped?

Sorry; can’t help it. I’ll go back to working now.

4 Comments


  1. // Reply

    People used to look at us funny when we carried on conversations with our two daughters as if they were late teens instead of the late 2’s they actually were. To which I commented, “How will they ever learn “big” words unless they hear them on a daily basis in context?”

    I imagine that might have something to do with why they were both using complete sentences before the age of two. So, I applaud letting your daughter’s imagination run wild! How else can it be expected to grow?


    1. // Reply

      As long as it doesn’t eat Detroit someday. ‘Cause that’d be hard to get away with.


  2. // Reply

    Yeah, that might be a bit of “overkill”….


  3. // Reply

    And now that I have read this. the waiting for The Secret grows even more difficult! Glad I have Wednesdays for my DHY fix lol!

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