Jul. 24th, 2008

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I am not the biggest fan of kids. I know where a lot of my issues with kids come from so that's good, but I try to keep to a child-free world as much as I can. It's just easier that way.

Coming as a total surprise to me, the housecleaner I hired to do a one-time clean-up brought her child. She had brought her (also unannounced) to the estimate but I hadn't expected her here today. Given that the housecleaner was an hour late and had not called to tell me she was late, I wasn't thrilled.

However, her kid is really cool. I liked her when I met her last time. Wish she'd ask before messing with things, but she's a really bright articulate child. I de-cluttered as best I could before the housecleaner arrived but I hadn't gotten everything. I thought I'd probably need to work alongside her to move things and to clarify things that shouldn't be tossed. But figuring the child would be bored hanging around a house full of vacuum noise, I told her that I had a big backyard garden and that she was welcome to hang out there if she'd like. She was happy to do that.

I meant to only go out for a moment to orient her to the surroundings but she was clearly really interested in plants and growing things so we ended up spending 2.5 hours together in my backyard. We talked about the plants and about her school and how things are. I really had a good time. So even though, yes, she picked things without asking (some of which I was saving for me!), I just couldn't get that mad about it. It's so nice to see a kid who is that mature (she's actually a couple years younger than I thought she was), that interesting and interested. Wish we had a lot more like her.

After going around asking me what this and that plant were, we ended up taking some pot-bound tomatoes and peppers and planting them. The tomatoes were 'Black Krim', a Russian heirloom tomato. When she heard that, she said "I love Russia! You know why? Because Anastasia was from there." She proceeded to tell me a bit of the plot of the animated movie (which I haven't seen yet) and I told her, well, they got it partly right...and then I told her in fairly simple terms about the Bolshevik Revolution (VERRRRY simple since my US education on anything to do with communism and socialism isn't that good). She took it well. But how cool is it when an 8-year-old says "I love Russia because of Anastasia"?

We talked about girly girls, the stupidity of the association of colors with a certain gender, tomboys, Brazil, identity theft, nightmares, the dangerousness of Hilltop Mall, Charlie Chaplin... She had me sing the various songs that are on a room divider I have that has vintage sheet music on it. I had to explain the concept of notation to her when we got to songs I didn't know (and couldn't read). When I found out she is Brazilian (like some of my siblings), I thought I'd burn her a CD of Carmen Miranda and other Brazilian stuff I have. She watched a couple Carmen Miranda tunes with me on YouTube while I burned my stuff to disc. Then I told her I was going to play her something that was from Scotland AND Brazil and played her a bit of MacUmba. By this time her mother had finished cleaning and was saddling up to go. The kid said "Next time I see you, you HAVE to burn that Scotland thing to CD for me!" I hope to god I've turned the kid onto Carmen Miranda. That would be super-cool. Just in time for the centenary of Carmen Miranda's birth in 2009.

I sent her home with some Nigella damascena seeds, some snow pea seeds, and a 'Black Krim' start.

I had a really good time.

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