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Monday, July 11, 2005

I Lied to Annika

The other day Annika and Sandy were out shopping at Hy-Vee. From the parking lot, Annika spied the Plummer House, a mansion with a detached (water?) tower located high on a hill in Rochester. Annika asked Sandy if a Princess lived there. So last night, Annika and I went out looking for the Princess tower. I acted like I didn't know where I was going, even though I did. Through a series of simple questions, like "Where did you see it?" and "Do you think that a princess tower would be up on a hill?" we managed to drive fairly quickly to the Plummer House parking lot. The house was closed and the sign said No Trespassing.

So we got out of the car and went for a walk. Annika was very excited. The house is beautiful and looks very old, and the grounds are beautifully maintained. Annika asked if we could go into the house, but I said that the sign indicated it was closed. So we kept walking and when the tower was in view, I asked Annika if she saw anything. She looked around, and then I kinda pointed through the trees and said 'What's that up there?" And she looked up at the princess tower. Her face said it all. We hurried over to it and she looked up. "Do you think that this looks like where a princess might live?" I asked her. She said, "Can we go and talk to her?" I said we could walk the stairs and see if the tower was open. We walked up and found a very large old door was screwed shut. I said it didn't look like the princess was there. We climbed down and spent the rest of the time walking around the manicured gardens and watching for wildlife and admiring the place generally. It would be a beautiful place for a garden party or small wedding reception. (They only allow 100 guests at a time, and a day rental is about $500 -- pretty cheap.) On the ride home she asked me if I could "talk for bunny" and she told bunny all about it.

Later that night we were reading bedtime stories. She has one she just took out from the library called "Where did the dinosaurs go?" and when we were done reading it, she asked me where I though the dinosaurs went. I thought about it and told her that I thought that the dinosaurs might be inside us, and that would explain why all animals are afraid of humans and that that is why we never have to be scared of animals.

One of my favorite tapes I own is "The Naive Male" by Robert Bly, a 2 hour lecture on the traits of naive men and the steps they can take to lose some of that naivety. It's done in the context of his own poetry, and shows how as he matured he lost some of his naivety and started writing more meaningful poetry, later in life. One of the suggestions in it is to "Not show your gold" meaning don't tell people everything you know or share your most precious intellectual gifts with others too early in life. In doing this, you risk losing a very large part of who you are to a mythical/real person Bly calls "The False Innkeeper." The corollary to this is "Don't show all your intellectual gold to your children," meaning that when your 3 year old asks you why the Sun goes down at night, that you don't launch into a scientific explanation of the earth's rotation. Instead, you tell them it's because the Sun is tired and needs to go to bed. Bly's reasoning is that too much explanation kills natural curiosity. So that's why I lie to my children, to preserve their natural curiosity.

Where did all the dinosaurs and princesses go, anyway?

2 comments:

Michael and Anne 7/13/2005 07:10:00 PM  

All of the dinosaurs died due to industrialization of the modern world and man's overuse of natural resources. As for the princesses, they are getting arrested working first street in duluth. Kurt, you can delete this after reading it.

Kurt Schroeder 8/03/2005 12:48:00 PM  

Annika's met a new friend, Brianna, at Library storytime. At one of their play dates, Sandy found out that her grandparents are the Plummer House caretakers. They live there and will give Annika a tour including going into the princess tower! Small world!!