I spent the afternoon babysitting one of my students, Sophia, who is five-years-old. Her favorite song is “On Top of Spaghetti,” and I know this ahead of time so I make sure to bring my guitar and songbook for the occasion. Sophia is Chinese and was adopted four years ago by two loving, artist parents who live in the valley.
She has deep brown hair that is unceasingly straight and extends all the way down to her bottom. Her manner of speech is very matter-of-fact and articulate, but she has a slight r-lisp that she hasn’t outgrown yet.
“Let’s play faiwies, Katey!” she squeals through the screen door, coaxing me outdoors. She leads me through all the trails in her backyard, up to her mother’s art studio, and then back down along the creek bed. Along the way she points out little fairy huts that she has made in the woods out of twigs and pine needles. We find a patch of sun at the edge of a rhododendron thicket and get to work.
“We need to make them acorn soup, like this, see?” She gathers dried oak leaves and crumples them into a small pocket in dirt. Next we crack acorn shells and peal the meaty hearts out to add to our soup. I suggest that we need a little more color, and she agrees. We gather green pine needles and stir them in.
For over an hour we crawl through the forest in Sophia’s dream fairyland, hiding and singing and gathering and building. It is a joy to be led by this little person and to share her dreamland.
Would that life were this simple again.