May 28, 2008
She constantly changes, she never changes
It's hard to say why Schuyler loves big monsters so much, although I've always had the feeling that she sees them as her natural allies. As I've written before, she's never been afraid of them. Whether it's King Kong or dinosaurs or the Cloverfield monster, she's always been drawn to them as friends. Even her most recent imaginary creature, the Grass Monster, can be tamed by pouring a little bit of beverage onto the ground. When it comes to monsters, they are all Schuyler's.
As she grows older and girlier, her interests have shifted, like any little girl's might, but on her own terms as usual. I am encouraged that she doesn't want to be a princess, and if you call her one, she adamantly declares, "I'm not a princess. I'm a queen." Even at eight, she's not interested in middle management. A few weeks ago, I used a bunch of Amazon credits I'd accumulated to buy her a wooden castle that she'd wanted for a long time, and I don't know if I've ever seen her happier. She has populated it with fairies, and princesses, and cute little animals.
But there are a few dinosaurs and dragons hanging around outside the castle walls, peeking in the windows from time to time. Sometimes they come inside, not to bring mayhem, but to join in the fun. Her dinosaurs never attack anyone (although they do occasionally eat some of the animals). To Schuyler, there's nothing incongruous about their presence in her world.
The dinosaur park was a hit, I think. She gawked at the slightly ridiculous giant fiberglass dinosaurs guarding the park's entrance, and she wanted nothing more than to splash into the river and explore. We kept up as best as we could, slipping on the rocks and twisting our ankles every three or four steps. Schuyler saw the footprints, and she seemed impressed, but mostly she didn't want to look. She wanted to do. Long ago dinosaurs can't compete with being a wild kid in a fast-moving stream.
Schuyler is changing, she's leaving some of the things from her past behind her. She's becoming interested in the concrete world around her, like the "grow your own butterflies" kit we got for her recently. She checks on the caterpillars every day when she gets home from school, watching for them to begin their transformation. I watch her as she transforms herself.
But when the evenings wind down, she still brings a stuffed animal or a doll to bed with her, and since this past weekend, she's taken to looking over the edge of her loft bed, down at the new poster on her wall. It's a brachiosaurus, tall and vaguely menacing (for a salad eater), and she's captivated by it. The last time I put her to bed, she said goodnight to it, and blew it a kiss.