Getting into the car today, my 4-year-old daughter looked at me, very seriously, and asked, “Mommy, can you turn into an animal?” I waited a few seconds, to be sure I had heard her right (she has a good imagination, but usually doesn’t confuse fantasy with reality) before I told her, no, I couldn’t, and finished buckling her in. I was about to close her car door, but then I got curious about what was going on in her little overactive brain, so I asked, “If you could turn into an animal, what would you want it to be?” Without missing a beat, she said, “An alligator.”
I knew she had once had a fascination with crocodiles (back when they were bingeing daily on Peter Pan), but had never heard of her wishing she could turn into one, or an alligator, for that matter. Okay, so the kid wants to be an alligator. She also wants a bicycle, a princess castle, a trip to see the Statue of Liberty, and for my sister to hurry up and have another daughter (the same sister who is currently on maternity leave with a two-month-old daughter).
I figured I’d see where this was going, so I asked, “And what do you think I would be, if I could turn into an animal?” Again, without having to give it a thought, she said “A crocodile, so we could fight.” I started laughing but agreed that those sounded like great ideas.
“Is that funny?” she asked. I told her: “A little. But mostly it’s just cute.” She thought this over, then nodded. “Okay.”
It’s not just the bizarre thought processes these kids have that is so refreshingly cute, it’s how seriously they take these thoughts. I know someday my daughter's filter will kick in, and she'll hold back the weird, off-beat things that pass through her mind. I'm glad that, for now, I get to be in on all of these fun ponderings of hers.