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The Puppy-Girl of Pie Town

After all these years I finally had a chance to visit the famous "toaster house" of Pie Town, NM. People doing the Great Divide mountain bike ride love to stop in here. Thanks to some good luck, I walked in on the proprietor who was checking up on things. She filled me in on the history of the toaster house: she had raised four kids in that house, before turning it into a donation-only hostel.

Thanks to the riders' blogs I knew where to go for wifi. And let me tell you, getting on the internet is a challenge in this town. I -- or rather, my dog -- was noticed by a family of campers. After a certain amount of observation, their little girl insisted on making friends with my dog.

I was then surprised and delighted to have a one hour conversation with this little girl, age 4. She was so well spoken. A cynic might say that her skill at adding inflections and nuances to her statements was just a mimetic skill, gotten from observing her parents. Still, it amazed me. 

This is the first conversation I have really had with a small child. How was I to talk to her? Would laughing at her statements just make her excessively self-conscious of her cuteness? Should I talk down to or across to her? Should I try to say things that were educational? What topics should I avoid in order not to lose her? What kind of vocabulary did she have?

As it turned out, I didn't pursue any of these abstractions directly, but rather, focused on the work at hand, and let these abstractions be mere by-products. That was easy because dogs were her favorite subject.  She probably weighed a bit less than my dog, but she came up -- eye-to-eye -- and hugged my dog. Then she squirmed a little when my dog licked her face.

I guess Maurice Chevalier was right after all: thank heavens for little girls.


Ed said…
You changed the blog appearance and now your going to change your mien from curmudgeon to a Pollyanna?

A number of studies have confirmed past research suggesting that young girls learn language faster and earlier than boys, producing their first words and sentences sooner and accumulating larger vocabularies faster. A boy of age 4 would not have been capable of having that conversation with you and probably would have tormented Coffee Girl.
Hey, the 'medium is the message.'

Yes, little girls are gifted in certain things relative to little boys. But the boys have their talents too: waiting for a rainstorm, finding worms, and cutting them in two; frying ants on the driveway, with a magnifying glass; whacking things with sticks and clubs; and yes, cruelty to animals.

I can remember throwing a kitten back and forth with another boy, like it was a football. The poor beast got her revenge by shitting in my hand.