No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Elizabethan 10-Year Old

*** Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert! If you do not know what happens either (A) to Billy the Kid, or (B) to Romeo and Juliet, and do not want either story to be ruined in advance, that is "given away", do not keep reading!***

"Where art thou, Good Momma?"

"Ah! There! Good Morrow, Good Momma!" ...

"Art thou a MOMMA, Good Momma? tut! tut! Yes! A GOODLY Momma!"

This kind of conversation is what I woke up to this morning from the likes of my daughter. You remember, this one:

Did I mention SHE IS TEN?!! But do you see it? Do you see how kind of naughty she is? I mean, she's wearing a tiger TRUCKER HAT, for heaven's sake. And she's wearing it to celebrate ME, that "Good Momma" because I'm a tiger, and we're now in the year of the tiger. Pretty clever little sideways kind of show of affection for me, eh? And then thrown in with the trucker hat she's going around speaking Elizabethan English for heaven's sake. I did mention she is *ten*, right? I mean, how on earth does she have any idea at all about Elizabethan English?

Well, she's started reading Romeo and Juliet this week. Sort of surprised me, to be honest. She asked if she could by saying, "Est thou a MOMMA? Shall I read this bright book, my Momma?" (She's quite focused on me being her MOMMA, if you haven't noticed. Though sometimes she uses "Momsies" instead, which, I'll confess I'm less fond of.)

My first response was, "Do you know how it ends?"

I mean, COME ON. She's quite a sensitive kid and just reading her fourth grade class Arizona History "newspaper" where there's an article that goes something like "blahblahblah Billy the Kid, blahblah, total bad ass blahblah. And then he died." makes her quite upset. So I figured reading about kids that fall in love, and get all "oh THY BEAUTY! MY HEART! THOU ART MY LOVE! Oh! Dance within my arms!" and all that until finally "And then they died." would upset her. But, it turned out she'd been filled in already on how the story went. (Honestly, I probably didn't actually need that spoiler alert up there, eh? Cause many of us have been "filled in" on this one already, haven't we?)

And then she said to me, "My teacher said I should ask cause of light language."

The idea of "light language" being a possible warning here I find hilarious since clearly Shakespearean writing is anything BUT "light language." But I didn't mention this and instead took up the meaning I know she intended, which was something like "there is minimal cussing in this book."

To emphasize that this kind of "light language" was no problem, when she again asked, "So, can I read it?" I answered her, "Hell yeah!" To which, gratefully, she laughed. She's finally starting to get my sense of humor, thank the lord, after ten long years of her bursting into tears instead of laughing when I'd make a joke.

I then said to her, "We may need to read this one together."

And she responded, "But I want to try and read it myself."

So, now she is. I had to coach her through the first page, cause she kept asking about every other word. But then I said, you know, you'll pick up a lot of the words just by reading. So, now there she is reading Shakespeare on her own. And she's completely fascinated by it. And also walking around the house now, drum sticks in her back pocket, a trucker hat on her head, and Elizabethan morning greetings coming out of her mouth.

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